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Articles on this Page
- 09/11/14--12:46: _Frankford discusses...
- 09/11/14--12:49: _Route 26 constructi...
- 09/11/14--12:50: _Frye joins Bethany ...
- 09/11/14--12:51: _Wheatley, Arlett an...
- 09/18/14--10:46: _Bayside Tennis Club...
- 09/18/14--11:51: _Super Sunfest Sidew...
- 09/18/14--11:51: _Donate snacks or ac...
- 09/18/14--11:55: _Local author releas...
- 09/18/14--11:56: _NWTF offers women t...
- 09/18/14--12:04: _10-minutes or a hea...
- 09/18/14--12:31: _Canal contest winne...
- 09/18/14--12:36: _Sharp as a diamond:...
- 09/18/14--12:39: _Trick Trucks to hos...
- 09/18/14--12:40: _Police seek assista...
- 09/18/14--12:49: _Country Festival to...
- 09/18/14--12:53: _Millville okays MBT...
- 09/18/14--12:55: _Lifelong Learning a...
- 09/18/14--12:58: _Be prepared for any...
- 09/18/14--13:00: _County council disc...
- 09/18/14--13:04: _OV discusses possib...
- 09/11/14--12:46: Frankford discusses pensions, park, resident’s concerns
- 09/11/14--12:49: Route 26 construction ready to hit full swing on Oct. 1
- 09/11/14--12:50: Frye joins Bethany council
- 09/11/14--12:51: Wheatley, Arlett and Lee win respective primaries
- 09/18/14--10:46: Bayside Tennis Club celebrates 40th year
- 09/18/14--11:51: Super Sunfest Sidewalk Sale set for Sept. 19-21
- 09/18/14--11:51: Donate snacks or activities to Millville’s Stockings for Soldiers
- 09/18/14--11:55: Local author releases second novel
- 09/18/14--11:56: NWTF offers women the opportunity to learn outdoor skills
- 09/18/14--12:04: 10-minutes or a heart attack:
- 09/18/14--12:31: Canal contest winners create a community in South Bethany
- 09/18/14--12:36: Sharp as a diamond: Conroe wins Delaware’s second 4-H award
- 09/18/14--12:39: Trick Trucks to host Truck & Jeep Show in Millsboro
- 09/18/14--12:40: Police seek assistance in Millsboro murder
- 09/18/14--12:49: Country Festival to rock Millsboro this weekend
- 09/18/14--12:53: Millville okays MBTS’s Lakeside site plan, celebrates donations
- 09/18/14--12:55: Lifelong Learning available at Ocean View Town Hall
- 09/18/14--12:58: Be prepared for anything at Millville safety and health fair
- 09/18/14--13:00: County council discusses Capital Transportation, byway
- 09/18/14--13:04: OV discusses possible fixes for Woodland Avenue extended
The Frankford Town Council continued its discussion of potential pension plans earlier this week.
Trena Giddings, a human resource specialist from the State of Delaware’s Office of Pensions gave the council a presentation on the State’s county/municipal police and firefighter plan on Sept. 8.
Giddings told council that the State offers a defined benefit plan, wherein an employee contributes 7 percent of base compensation and the employer contributes 14.18 percent. The employer contribution rate given was based on the 2015-fiscal-year rate, and Giddings said it could change.
“Those contributions — that 21 percent — that goes up and down each year, right?” asked resident Marty Presley, who has 30 years of experience in the financial field.
“That is correct. They can change,” responded Giddings. “I can tell you, since I have been employed with the Pensions Office, which has been six and a half years, it has been 7 percent for the police plan. That, for the employees, has not changed. The fluctuation in employer costs? Yes, that has changed.”
Presley asked Giddings to confirm that once the Town signs up for the State’s pension plan they would not be able to withdrawal from it.
“That is correct. The only way that it would lay dormant is if they had no employees. Then they would not have to pay anything,” she said. “It is an irrevocable action. Once they come in they cannot get out.”
Presley asked what the biggest factor would be for the council signing up for an irrevocable plan when the future costs are unknown.
“That’s something they would have to take a risk on,” she replied.
Another resident asked Giddings if there were other county or municipal agencies that were not involved in the State’s plan.
“Very few,” said Giddings, adding that the Town of Smyrna is not in the plan.
Resident Greg Welch asked if the Town’s police department could enter the pension plan without having town administration employees enter the plan.
“Yes,” said Giddings.
If the Town joins the State plan, employees would be vested in the plan after five years of consecutive service. Pensions are calculated based on years of service and the amount of money the employee made while in the plan.
“The highest 36 months of compensation and years of service is how your calculated pension is done,” she explained, adding that overtime and special payments for extra duties are not included in the calculation.
Giddings said once a municipality, fire department or police department enters into the State’s pension plan, there is mandatory participation.
“Once the decision is made to enter our pension plan, it’s all or nothing. You can’t pick or choose, as far as police are concerned. You pick one individual, they all have to join.”
Resident Albert Franklin told the council he was not in favor of having the Town enter into the plan.
“How much more do you think the Town of Frankford can stand before we go under?” he asked.
Council President Joanne Bacon said the council had yet to vote on pensions for employees and that they would do the best job they could for residents.
Shelton aims to silence council critic Smith
Councilman Charles Shelton, who joined the meeting late, addressed council and the audience regarding a letter to the editor from resident Jerry Smith about the council.
“There was an article in the paper… something that Jerry had wrote about me and everybody else. He said I don’t make the meetings, I’m this and that. I don’t care what he said about me, I have things to do. For the record, I want everyone to know, the last meeting we had, Jerry called me outside and wanted to talk to me and the words he said to me… He told me that us blacks need to stick together.
“He said, ‘You didn’t shut those white folks up when they were making their comments. Why are you shutting me up?’”
Shelton said that a resident can say anything they want about a council member, attack them personally, but he wanted others to know Smith had called him a racist.
“He said me, Pam [Davis], and all the blacks that represent the town need to stick together,” said Shelton. “That’s a racist comment. When you tell me we need to stick together because we’re black? I’m not here for the blacks, for the whites, the greens, yellows, whoever. I’m here for the people of the town.”
Smith said he did speak to Shelton after the August council meeting; however, he said he believes what he said was misunderstood.
“What I said to Charles was, one of the biggest problems we have… is that perhaps African-Americans are the most devalued people in this entire country. That’s probably not a secret,” he said. “When we were talking last month at that meeting, Charles singled me out, out of everyone in the room.
“He said, ‘Jerry, I don’t want to hear anything else you have to say. You were talking about this four years ago. Everybody over there — I want to hear what they have to say, but I don’t want to hear what you have to say.’ What I told Charles was that is embarrassing for me.”
Shelton also said that it’s not right for Smith to complain about the Town and its council, when Smith has a delinquent garbage bill that has gone to collections.
“It’s not right for all of us to pay, and certain other people not pay. It’s not right. If you’re going to criticize about this and that, you need to pay your bills.”
“I have not had trash service with the Town since 1993. The Town entered into an agreement with me, saying that I could remove my own trash,” responded Smith. “The fact of the matter is the Town has not picked up any trash from my house since 1993. The Town can’t say I owe them for a service they have not provided. We will take all that up in court.”
Dudley pooh-poohs public pooping in park
“We are still having problems at the park,” said Police Chief William Dudley reported at this week’s meeting. “For whatever reason, people continue to tear one of our signs down.”
Dudley said the police department also recently found that a human had defecated in the park.
“That’s not a cool thing,” he said. “We can’t afford to have human people defecating in a public park like that. It’s absolutely disgusting, and it’s unacceptable.”
Dudley said that if the vandalism does not stop, he will recommend the council have the park closed when David Ward, the town’s maintenance employee, goes home at night.
Dudley said that the word has gotten out that the town has a nice park, with great basketball facilities. As a result, he said, over a recent weekend a large group of about 50 visitors were using the court but did not clean up before they left.
“At the end of that you could tell — there was trash everywhere. We had bottles lying all over the place. We had alcohol cans, torn signs down… They just made a mess of it.”
Councilwoman Cheryl Workman said she has also noticed that people have been riding their bikes on the path specifically designated for walkers.
“People walking on the path are having to get off because these kids who aren’t supposed to be riding on the path are going in every direction.”
Dudley said he’s working on identifying those responsible for the vandalism and hopes that, with school now in session, it will become less of a problem.
“Hopefully, that’ll curb the problem and we’ll be able to identify who the culprits are.”
In other town news:
• At the start of the meeting Workman motioned to delete a second citizens’ privilege segment from the agenda, noting that “It got out of hand last month a bit.”
Workman stated that she had agreed to add the second citizens’ privilege; however, she felt it was not a productive practice.
“I just don’t think it’s benefiting us. I think it’s lashing out, rather than getting any problems solved,” she said.
“I believe we need to listen to our public. They are citizens. They are taxpayers,” said Bacon. “I do agree it got out of hand,” she added.
Bacon and Pam Davis voted to keep the second scheduled citizens’ privilege on the agenda, while Councilman Jesse Truitt and Workman voted against it. The second citizens’ privilege was held.
“Let’s keep it smooth sailing,” said Workman.
Presley told council the citizens’ frustration came from having to discuss the same issues over and over again with council.
“The citizens of the town feel like those questions are never being answered,” he said. “Why don’t we take the pertinent issues, why don’t the council update us as far as what the council has done to address those issues? Maybe that’ll shorten some of the back-and-forth.”
Before the start of the second citizens’ privilege, Jesse Truitt left the meeting room, which upset some residents.
“He should stay here,” said Franklin. “If you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen.”
• The council unanimously voted to retroactively approve the Town employees’ Christmas bonuses from 2013.
“It has been determined that that, for lack of better words, council made a mistake,” said Bacon. “It is not an employee’s mistake. It was a mistake by council.”
The bonuses were approved with a vote of 4 to 0. Jesse Truitt recused himself from the vote, as his wife is a Town employee.
As summer traffic flows away from Route 26, construction will kick into high gear. On Oct. 1, daytime lane closures are permitted to resume, and Ken Cimino wouldn’t be surprised if night lane closures continue, as well, leading to a combined 21-hour work shift, from 9 a.m. to 6 a.m.
Daytime roadwork has continued all summer, but lane closures have been forbidden since May 15. Night work and lane closures currently run from overnight from Sunday night to Friday morning, 7 p.m. to 6 a.m. (Sunday begins at 10:30 p.m.)
Contractors George & Lynch are currently deciding a plan of attack for autumn, which will be monitored by Delaware Department of Transportation. Then the public will be notified immediately, Cimino, AECOM’s on-site public outreach coordinator, told the emergency services group on Sept. 9.
Regular meetings of the emergency-response group at the Millville Volunteer Fire Company’s fire hall have dwindled from two dozen attendees to about six.
“I think that’s a testament to the coordination that’s gone back and forth between AECOM and DelDOT, George & Lynch,” and so forth, Cimino said.
MVFC had 810 calls for service from June to August, said Fire Chief Doug Scott, gauging the impact of the work on fire company response.
“I don’t think we’ve experienced any major delay,” Cimino said, due to communication between G&L and emergency responders. “We’ve had really good fortune. Obviously the lines of communication are working.”
Another 700 calls are expected for September to December.
This week on the road
Currently in the Route 26 improvements project (which brings a center turn lane, sidewalk and shoulders to most of 4-plus miles of roadway), contractor George & Lynch is preparing for wintertime detours.
By Dec. 31, the goal is to pave Old Mill Road (at the Food Lion) to Grants Avenue (near Halpern Eye Care) and Woodland Avenue to West Avenue (near Taylor Bank).
When those sections are wide enough, crews will add curbs and gutters. Many areas will be hand-run, because the straight edge isn’t long enough for a machine, Cimino said.
With those chunks complete, Route 26 can be closed near Millville Town Hall and Lord Baltimore Elementary, from Jan. 3 to March of 2015, for replacement of the two bridges in those locations.
Those were supposed to be the only full closures of Route 26 for the project. That’s why some people were concerned about George & Lynch’s recent proposal to possibly close Route 26 in Clarksville in mid-October. A pipe crossing will be coming out of the pump station west of Irons Lane, as part of the Sussex County sanitary sewer expansion, which coincides with the Route 26 expansion. George & Lynch won both contracts.
G&L has requested full roadway closures for the work, just overnight, but the work could take a few weeks. DelDOT is still researching traffic volumes.
It was suggested that G&L consider boring holes for the work, rather closing and tearing into the road.
State Rep. Ron Gray asked about signage to notify drivers about roadwork. Currently, DelDOT is looking to fit all traffic signals with Bluetooth detectors, so traffic control can monitor how fast traffic is moving, then adjust traffic patterns and signage accordingly.
Because the original four-phase project was amended to fit G&L’s manpower and scheduling needs, the detour routes will be amended slightly and expanded to create longer routes.
It was also noted this week that this summer’s abruptly announced Route 1 improvements did not affect Route 26 construction. If anything, Cimino joked, it moderated traffic’s flow into the work zone.
Businesses are always open during construction, and road crews will aim to maintain access.
Residents and businesses are being encouraged to contact Ken Cimino at any time with questions or concerns about Route 26 construction, at (302) 616-2621, Kenneth.email@example.com or 17 Atlantic Avenue, Suite 2, in Ocean View.
The bulk of voters came out early on a sweltering Saturday to cast their votes in the 2014 Bethany Beach Town Council election, selecting from five candidates — all but one of whom were incumbents — four people to serve two-year terms on the council. And what little potential for change there was with that election slate came to pass, as voters elected challenger Brue Frye, handing two-term councilwoman Margaret Young a loss.
In voting on Sept. 6, citizens made first-time candidate Rosemary Hardiman their top pick, with 365 in-person votes and 339 absentee-ballot votes — 704 total. Hardiman was appointed to the council this spring to replace then-mayor Tony McClenny, who died Aug. 25 after a battle with brain cancer. This was her first run for the council.
Close behind was Councilman Lew Killmer, with 700 total votes — 381 in-person votes and 319 absentee votes. Mayor Jack Gordon was also returned to the council with 682 votes (377 in-person and 305 absentee). Frye completed the list of elected candidates, with 621 total votes (326 in-person and 295 absentee votes). Young fell more than 100 votes short, with 519 total votes (285 in-person and 234 absentee).
A council reorganizational meeting will be held at 10 a.m. on Sept. 15 at town hall. At that time, the elected council members will be sworn in and select from among their number the mayor, vice-mayor and council secretary/treasurer for the coming council year.
The State of Delaware held primary elections on Tuesday, Sept. 9, in which 40 candidates vied to represent their parties on November’s general election ballot.
Robert Wheatley won the Democratic primary for Sussex County Council District 5 and will be the party’s candidate in the November election. Wheatley received 60.3 percent of the votes, a total of 703, compared to Brad Connor’s 39.7 percent, or 462 votes.
“Certainly I’m delighted with the victory,” said Wheatley on Wednesday morning. “I want to say that my opponent, Brad Connor, has been a friend of mine for 25 years and I’m certain he’ll be a friend for another 25 years. I’m looking forward to working with Brad and his support in the 5th District as we move forward to November.”
Wheatley, who currently serves as the chairman of the Sussex County Planning & Zoning Commission, gathered with friends and family on Tuesday night at an area restaurant to watch the results come in.
Connor, who currently serves as mayor of the Town of Dagsboro, said that he was pleased with the “good, clean campaign” the two ran.
“There’re no hard feelings,” said Connor on Wednesday of the results. “We’ve just got to keep working. I’ve been in public service for a long time, so I’ll continue doing what I do.”
For the upcoming November election, Connor said he will be supporting Wheatley.
“I’ve known him for many years,” said Connor. “He’s a good man, and I wish him well… It’s not as if the people won’t be taken care of.”
As for his future in politics, Connor said he will continue to serve as mayor and look for other political opportunities.
“Politics has always been something I’ve enjoyed and done well with,” he said. “It’s a learning curve. You teach your kids you don’t always get what you want but it always works out in the end. That’s the way life is. Some other opportunity will come along. Meanwhile, we’ll keep plugging along.”
Wheatley will face off against Republican challenger Rob Arlett, who will run as that party’s candidate, as he received 1,095 votes (55.1 percent of the votes cast), to incumbent Vance Phillips’ 893 votes (44.9 percent).
“It was truly a great day for the voters,” said Arlett. “Yesterday was about a positive message for the people, a vision for the future, hard work and lots of faith, and a little money.”
Arlett said that, as a new face to area politics, there were a few factors working against him.
“Being in the primary as a newcomer, you don’t have those resources as someone who has been in office. We certainly had a lot stacked against us, but what we did have for us was a positive message, a positive attitude, hard work and faith.”
It was due to voters’ readiness for change, Arlett said, that the win came about.
“Since Day 1, I wanted to have a positive campaign and provide an effective message and an alternative to the voter, and it worked.”
During his campaign, Arlett said, he focused on family values and faith. He extended a word of thanks to those who voted in the Republican primary.
“I’ve campaigned on things that were important for me as a person, and I think that’s what connected with the community,” he said. “I want to thank the residents who voted, because their vote does count and they made a difference yesterday. I thank them.”
Arlett said he gathered with friends, family and supporters at his home Tuesday night to watch the results come in.
“Yesterday, I was very much at peace. No matter what the results were, I was very much at peace because of how we ran the campaign and that we were true to my goal of providing a positive message without personal attacks.”
With the general election slated for Nov. 4, Arlett said he plans to continue his vigorous campaign throughout District 5.
“It’s really about eight weeks. That’s all there is. We are going to continue to provide the message and the vision of preserving the past and planning for the future. We look forward to continuing to reach out to more residents of the district and getting to know them personally, allowing them the opportunity to get to know me and trust me to best represent them on council.
“So as we move forward, we’re excited about continuing that message of preserving the past and planning for the future,” he added. “We’ll continue to reach out to the residents of District 5, listening to their concerns and their vision that they have for the district.”
Phillips said he will support Arlett in his ongoing campaign to serve Sussex County Council District 5.
“I think the Democrats on all levels of government are very dangerous for our country and our state,” he said. “I don’t say that about Democrat citizens. I think there’s a huge difference. Once a Democrat gets elected, he or she has pressure from above… I’ve seen it throughout my career. I think the people of the 5th District understand that — even the Democrats.”
In his remaining months on council, Phillips said he will continue to serve the people of District 5 to the best of his ability and will not change how he approaches his position on council.
“I can’t imagine. I’ve been operating based on principles my entire career. I don’t think any political expediency could change the way I govern.”
He added that he hopes to have the County discuss and possibly adopt an Agriculture Industry Zone and does not plan to go overboard when spending his remaining council discretionary funds.
“At our next meeting, I may ask that our staff look at [creating an ag industry zone] and come back with a report. Unless there’s a major objection from somebody, I would hope we could do that,” he said.
“I’m not going to spend all my discretionary money, as some have done in the past after announcing a retirement or losing an election. I think leaving the appropriate amount for the next councilperson is the right thing to do. And I’m not going to make any land-use decisions based on the fat that I’m no longer going to stand for reelection.”
Phillips said that, after a long career in local and state politics, he does see himself running for another political office.
“I’m completely at peace with God’s perfect plan. I look forward to the next chapter of my life,” he said. “Politics can be a very disruptive force in a person’s life. I’ve done it out of a sense of service,” he said. “I’ve been doing this for 20 years. I first filed to run for public office in 1994. I lost the primary race for the Republican nomination to the U.S. Senate in 1996 election. Then I was successful in 1998.
“Those last 16 years of actual service have been wonderful. The citizens of Sussex County have been great. I have had a great sense of accomplishment through this service to others. I pray I’ll be leaving Sussex County a better place.”
In an exceptionally close race, Sussex County Sheriff challenger Robert T. Lee won the Republican primary, and he will be the party’s candidate in the November election against Democrat Beau Gooch. The Sussex County Department of Elections announced Wednesday afternoon there would be a recount on Thursday morning, after Coastal Point’s press time.
Lee received 5,109 votes (50.1 percent) and incumbent Jeff Christopher received 5,088 votes (49.9 percent), a difference of just 21 votes.
The Republican candidate for U.S. senator is Kevin Wade (75.7 percent), after his win over Carl Smink (24.3 percent).
For Republican State Treasurer candidate Kenneth Simpler (53.9 percent) beat Cheryl Valenzuela (46.1 percent).
The Democratic challenger for State Auditor will be Brenda Mayrack (55 percent) with her win over Kenneth Matlusky (45 percent)
Cynthia Green (56.2 percent) beat Brian Butler (43.8 percent) to be the Republican candidate for Sussex County Register of Wills.
To view the complete results of Tuesday’s Primaries, visit the official page at www.elections.delaware.gov. Voters can ensure they are registered to vote for the upcoming Nov. 4 general election by visiting ivote.de.gov.
Every Labor Day Weekend, Bayside Tennis Club commemorates another summer season with their yearly Labor Day picnic. This year, however, the South Bethany-based club had even more reason to celebrate, as the season marked their 40th anniversary.
“Usually that’s our Labor Day picnic that we have and this year it turned out to be [our] 40th,” said board President Al Preziosi.
Established in 1974, some of the club’s founders and original members were not only there to mark the occasion at the club’s Pavilion, but even still play tennis on the courts, including founder and former South Bethany Commissioner, George Reese.
“He’s still playing today, he’s 80-some years old and he’s good,” claimed Preziosi, noting that he hopes to still be playing at that level when he reaches Reese’s age.
Preziosi joined the club in 2001 as an avid tennis player, and eventually became a board member. However, now 40-plus years ago, the club actually began as South Bethany Recreation Association at the then-rented property.
It was Reese and Goodwin Taylor who got the idea for the club, after the Town of South Bethany was unable to come up with the funding for a recreational facility when Iggy Hall offered the property for such purposes.
“George and Goodwin Taylor, soon joined by Richard Ridgeway Esquire, decided that they would start a tennis club, and got 30 original members to sign up and rented the property from Iggy Hall and built four tennis courts,” explained Preziosi of the history.
In 1980, the club purchased the property from Hall and became Bayside Tennis Club, which is still going strong now 40 years later.
“It’s a nice environment,” said Preziosi. “It’s an affordable club. It’s open for membership to the public. We have an active social calendar, one [social] is in the beginning of the season in June. This year we had a pro exhibition match, they played pro-am with the members, which was a lot of fun.”
The facility features four courts, two of which are designed to be softer and more forgiving for frequent players with knee or hip issues.
“There are four courts. Two courts are —, it’s the rubberized surface which is good for people [who have] hip problems [and] knee problems,” Preziosi explained. “That’s why they were installed a few years ago.”
Not only are the courts designed for player comfort, but they have also been taken care of consistently.
“The courts are well-maintained, we just had them resurfaced last year,” Preziosi noted of the consistent maintenance.
The club keeps membership to around 85, but its members don’t just come from local areas — they come from a number of different states, some from as far as Florida.
“We get them from Maryland, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and we have a lot of local families that play here all the time as well,” Preziosi said. “We’re always looking for new members.”
While tennis season is no longer in full swing at Bayside, “round robin” and mixed doubles groups will still continue play through October, and Preziosi said that they’ll keep the courts open all winter.
“We still stay open throughout the winter. If you’re brave enough to get out there, you can play,” he said.
To find out more about Bayside Tennis Club, or if your interested in joining the club, visit their website at www.baysidetennis.sharepoint.com.
White Marlin Mall will hold its annual Super Sunfest Sidewalk Sale on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 19-21, at the mall, located in West Ocean City at 12641 Ocean Gateway, a half-mile past the bridge on Route 50 at Route 611, according to Matt Mittenthal, vice-president and assistant director of asset management at Greenberg Gibbons Commercial, the mall’s leasing and property management firm.
White Marlin Mall merchants will make room for their fall and winter inventory by moving much of their discounted summer merchandise out to the sidewalk. Shoppers will have the opportunity to browse through the racks and shelves to find bargains.
“The Super Sunfest Sidewalk Sale will feature deep discounts on shopper’s favorite electronics, gifts, toys, paper goods, clothing, shoes, home accessories and more,” Mittenthal said. “This long-standing tradition in West Ocean City gives guests a great way to see the best of what the White Marlin Mall merchants have to offer. And while family members shop, they will also have the opportunity to dine at a variety of highly-rated fast-service restaurants.”
In addition to the Super Sunfest Sidewalk Sale, those who visit White Marlin Mall can look forward to special savings on Columbus Day weekend, participate in Halloween trick-or-treating and enjoy the annual visit by Santa Claus to White Marlin Mall during the holiday season.
“As in the past, our Sunfest Sidewalk Sale coincides with Ocean City Sunfest,” Mittenthal said. “Like Sunfest itself, it is our celebration of the passing of the summer season and the kick off to all our fall and winter events at White Marlin Mall.”
Information on all the stores at White Marlin Mall, including the most recent addition of Dressbarn, can be seen at the mall’s website at www.whitemarlinmall.com.
When Pat Moulder thinks about U.S. soldiers in the Middle East, she envisions the monotony.
“They’re in a really drab place. Everything’s brown and black and gray,” Moulder said.
So she’s very excited that Millville residents will brighten the holidays of servicemen and -women overseas with Stockings for Soldiers.
Thousands of soldiers stationed in Afghanistan won’t be home for Christmas, but they can get some Delaware pride and Christmas cheer.
Moulder herself got involved in the effort last winter with Millville By The Sea. She’s eager to get started again.
“It’s good for men as well. It therapeutic!” Moulder joked. “You can cut, you can draw.”
“It’s just another thing, a community service,” said Linda Kent of the Millville Volunteer Group
A donation box is located at Millville Town Hall. To donate to soldiers stationed overseas, pick up any of the suggested items listed there.
Details are also online at www.millville.delaware.gov.
The deadline for donations is Friday, Oct. 3.
• Small candies, like mini bars, Christmas and Halloween candy
• Granola, fruit or breakfast bars
• Cookies, nuts, pretzels, trail mix, (less than 12 oz. size)
• Flavored drink mix (single packets of lemonade, tea, hot cocoa, coffee)
• Chewing gum
• Fruit roll-ups, Gushers, Cracker Jacks
• Slim Jim/ beef jerky
• Small individual meal packs (Ramen, lasagna, beefaroni, fruit)
• DVDs, CDs
• Disposable cameras
• Phone cards (AT&T)
• Hand/foot warmers
• Fly swatters
• Socks (any color crew socks)
• Toiletries and lotions (small packages)
• ChapStick and lip balm
• Razors (individual or packages)
• Toothbrushes, toothpaste, foot powder, sunblock
• Paperback books (no romance novels)
• Pocket games, puzzles, crosswords, Sudoku
• Q-tips and cotton swabs
• A personalized greeting card or message of support
• Please do not include aerosol cans or bars of soap.
Local author Bob Ackerman has just released his second novel, The Doppelganger Project, a riveting “what if” retelling of World War II, which Ackerman describes as “historic science fiction.”
Ackerman painstakingly researched the story for complete accuracy as to events as they happened in chronological order, albeit within the context of a fictitious plot. As part of that research the author traveled to Bletchley Park, England, a top secret code-breaking facility where unbeknownst to the Germans, coded Enigma messages were intercepted and decoded using mechanical precursors to computers called Bombe units.
One of the most amazing facts about Bletchley Park is that, while nearly 10,000 people worked at the super-secret facility, no one outside the park knew what went on there, even decades after the war’s end, until the Official Secrecy Act was rescinded in the early 1970s.
The novel takes place during 1941 before the United States entered the war and follows a young U.S. Naval lieutenant and two British team members as they try to figure out exactly what the Germans are plotting via the mysterious Doppelganger Project. Actual intrigues involving such things as a clandestine meeting between Franklin Roosevelt and Winston Churchill are interwoven into the plot.
A full-time resident of Rehoboth Beach, Ackerman transitioned from a career in film and video to writing three years ago. His debut supernatural thriller, Saskett’s Escape, was published last year. Bob and his wife, Kathleen are active in the thriving Rehoboth Beach arts scene — its Film Society, Writers Guild and theater companies.
The Doppelganger Project is available in print form at Bethany Beach Books, Browseabout Books in Rehoboth, and at Amazon and Barnes & Noble online. A Kindle e-book edition is also available at Amazon. For more information go to www.bobackermanauthor.com.
Women looking to learn about self-defense, shooting, hunting and more can do just that next month, during the Lower Delaware Chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation’s (NWTF) second annual Women in the Outdoors event.
“We really feel that a lot of women are interested in self-defense and home defense. Many are going out and getting their concealed-carry. Their husbands are buying them pistols to have for home defense,” said Stacie Street, secretary and treasurer of the Lower Delaware Chapter of NWTF. “I really think it’s important for women to know what to do in an emergency situation if something were to happen at home or something were to happen, say, at the mall.”
According to its website, NWTF members “are sportsmen, women and children who care deeply about our natural resources and the wild places we love to hunt… Collectively, we come from all walks of life to engage in conservation and preserve the hunting heritage we all hold dear.”
“We’re really trying to work on getting more hunters into the field safely. That’s where Women in the Outdoors comes in, because hunting isn’t only for men, it’s also for women. We’re trying to get more people involved in hunting and preserving the land,” Street explained. “Just because we’re the ‘National Wild Turkey Federation’ doesn’t necessarily mean we’re all about turkeys. We’re focused on conservation in general.”
The outdoor event will allow women to learn about self-defense, home-defense, sporting clays and more.
“There’s a device that shoots off this orange clay, round disc that flies through the air in different directions,” explained Street of sporting clays, for those who may not be familiar. “Some might be higher, some might be lower, some might be right in front of you. You shoot them with a shotgun. Depending on how you hit them, you’re awarded different points.”
The event will take place on Saturday, Oct. 4, at Owens Station in Greenwood. Those who wish to participate in the event must preregister by Wednesday, Oct. 1. The $35 registration fee can be paid on Oct. 4 by credit card, check or cash beginning at 8:30 a.m., with the activities kicking off at 9 a.m. Registration includes supplies, a year’s membership to NWTF and lunch.
“We are going to be having Hocker’s BBQ down by the beach catering our event this year. And you’ll get a one-year membership to the NWTF, and you get a magazine every other month.”
Street said that, this year, women participating in the program will be able to have more one-on-one instruction time with a Delaware state trooper, who will be providing self-defense instruction.
“Last year, the state trooper was only able to be there for two hours. So the home-defense and self-defense were cut short. This year, he’ll be there all day,” she said. “We’ll have the girls break up into smaller groups with him so they can get more one-on-one time.”
Street said that the shooting instruction and supplies will be provided by 4-H.
“They provide a lot of the guns and instructors for us. Scott Ventura usually does the sporting clays for us, and he does such a great job. The women really love him.”
Street said that, last year, 23 women participated in the event, and this year they hope to draw an even bigger crowd.
“The women last year all gave us great reviews on everything they did. The women had an awesome time. We have a lot of women who came last year coming again this year.”
Each year, the chapter holds a number of events, including one called Juniors Acquiring Knowledge, Ethics & Sportsmanship — also known as JAKES — which is dedicated to informing, educating and involving youth in wildlife conservation and the wise stewardship of natural resources.
“The organization as a whole is one of the best organizations I’ve ever been involved with. I was part of another organization that was so big they really didn’t even know who I was. NWTF — the people in it are just the nicest people,” said Street. “Our regional director is one of the nicest people. I went to the national conference last summer, and every single person I met down there was just super-nice. It’s just an amazing organization to be a part of.”
Street said she became involved in the group two years ago, after attending an outdoors show in Harrington.
“The National Wild Turkey Federation was the only organization that had a Women in the Outdoors program. That struck my eye, so I signed up with them that day and have been active ever since.”
Currently, the Lower Delaware Chapter has 10 active members, a number Street said is growing, along with the national organization’s membership.
“The whole organization itself is growing. The National Wild Turkey Federation has been around for years and is becoming a bigger organization.”
Of the upcoming event, Street said she hopes it is well-received and that women from all over attend to learn more about NWTF and learn valuable skills.
“I just hope the women have fun, learn something new and feel more comfortable around guns — that they feel more prepared if something were to happen in their home or to them out in public.”
For more information, or to preregister for the event, call Stacie Street, at (302) 381-9354 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Owens Station is located at Road 602 in Greenwood. For more information about the Lower Delaware Chapter of NWTF, visit www.lowerdelawarenwtf.com or www.facebook.com/pages/NWTF-Lower-Delaware/485577614841513.
Sometimes the first step to being healthy is just knowing what’s going on inside.
Thousands of employees and spouses under State of Delaware can get free health screenings through DelaWELL, which recently visited John M. Clayton Elementary.
In Frankford, people were tested for blood pressure, cholesterol, sugar/glucose levels, height, weight and body mass index (BMI).
“I think the more people know their numbers, the better of they’re gong to be, because knowledge is power,” said Gov. Jack Markell, who took the test.
The whole process takes about 10 minutes, said Markell’s biometric health screener, Stephanie Saw of Summit Health. That includes height and weight test, blood pressure, and a quick blood sample.
“There are some people who only go to the doctor on their deathbed,” seeing these screenings as an invasion of privacy, Saw said wryly. But she called it prevention.
The screeners teach people what their test results mean, and they might encourage guests to speak with a doctor, but they don’t force anyone to do anything.
“We would rather you come here and learn your cholesterol and go to the doctor, than drop dead of a heart attack in one month,” Saw said. “It’s a good service. It’s only ten minutes. We try to hit up all the major cities. Hopefully everybody can find a spot they live or work close to.”
Over 70 events are held statewide, and any State employee or spouse can just walk in.
Last year, 4,625 employees were screened out of the 43,000 State of Delaware employees and retirees are eligible for DelaWELL.
Some people just show up for the DelaWELL incentives, but Saw said, “We’re OK with that. Just take advantage of it.”
“It’s good for all of us. It’s good for society as a whole,” Markell said. “So much of the money we spend on healthcare is preventable.
“Even a little bit of exercise goes a long way. I hear the same thing… from people who lost weight. One day instead of making a snack, they took a walk,” Markell said, always inspired by those who kept walking and eventually lost over 100 pounds. “It’s always inspiring.”
Many local medical centers and community groups are hosting health fairs this autumn, from free tests to free flu shots. Check a local community calendar for updates.
Ever since Phil Iacangelo began gardening along the canal of his South Bethany home, he’s noticed a greater sense of community on York Road.
Watering the daisies, daylilies, coxcomb and crape myrtle early in the morning, Iacangelo is often greeted by joggers, cyclists and pedestrians.
His public garden not only starts conversations, but this year it won the Adopt-A-Canal 4th annual decorating contest.
Sponsored by the Community Enhancement Committee (CEC), the Adopt-A-Canal program lets residents take ownership and beautify their neighborhood.
“I think Phil adopted it about 40 years ago when we first moved here. He loves it,” said his wife, Cicily.
“Not only are we beautifying canal ends, but I’ve noticed people in the neighborhood, they’re replanting flowers in their homes,” Phil Iacangelo said. “They’re trying to beautify. You’ve developed a pride in South Bethany.”
“It’s contagious. People pick themselves up to the [standard],” said Sue Callaway, SB councilmember and CEC chairperson.
Iacangelo credited Callaway for encouraging beautification of the town.
Of 48 canals in South Bethany, the participation rates have quadrupled to 26 active canal adoptions.
“Sometimes it sounds like a big undertaking,” Callaway said, but if there is just one leader, it’s easier to get helpers.
“People are getting to know each other,” Callaway added. “It gives you a conversation … that’s what we’re trying to create. More a sence of community [not just a summer residence]. I think more people are spending even more time down here. They want nicer things.”
Residents enjoy adding various features, from park benches to doggy water bowls.
Carol Stevenson of Bayshore Drive won second place, and third place was Pat Weisgerber of Peterson Drive.
Earning gift certificates to Lord’s Landscaping, canal winners get consulting and more supplies to beautify the neighborhood.
The best way to begin beautification is to just start digging.
“Start small. Get it to an empty palette, then bite off what you can chew,” said Michael Lord, who enjoys working with the community.
He recommended using native plants that need less fertilizer or attention.
Ashley Conroe jokes that she’s done 4-H since she was born. So she followed through, earning the Diamond Clover Award earlier this summer, only Delaware’s second winner.
Also a lifelong athlete, Conroe’s community service project was helping other people stay active for years to come. She installed three exercise stations on the Indian River High School cross-country course.
“But it’s open to the community,” Conroe said. The grassy course is open to the public when students are not on campus (holidays, weekends and weekdays after 5 p.m.).
With help from her dad at home, Conroe built a wooden stepping station, balance beam and curl-up bar.
“All are wooden to make them safe for the environment,” Conroe said, also adding “birdhouses so people who weren’t exercising could take a nice walk.”
Conroe also installed a footbridge for the course, which earned her Girls Scout Gold Star Award.
She said some Boy Scouts built other exercise stations for the course, working toward their Eagle Scout honors.
“Each is one-tenth of a mile apart so you can run to each,” she said. “It’s also a safe environment.”
The exercise stations are within about 1 mile of the 3.1-mile course.
“I realized that unless you’re involved on the soccer or cross-country team,” many people aren’t getting enough exercise, or they “have to pay, like $50 bucks for a gym.”
Conroe was honored at Legislative Hall in May. She was Rep. Ron Gray’s guest on the floor of the State Representatives.
Conroe thanked her parents for ‘always being there,’ plus cross-country coach Frank Ryman.
The biggest Diamond Clover challenge was weather (“It seemed to always want to rain or snow,” she said). But 4-H allowed her time to finish the one-year project, completed in February.
Conroe’s advice to other students is: “Make sure you have a good timeline and follow through. If it seems a good day, just go out and do it, because who knows what tomorrow will bring?”
Trick Trucks of Millsboro will host their first-ever Truck & Jeep show this Saturday, Sept. 20, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., at their Millsboro store location at 24572 Betts Pond Rd.
The event will be free to the public to attend or compete in, and will feature food, music, games, a raffle and giveaways throughout the day.
“It’s free registration — everyone’s gonna get a 50-50 ticket when they get in, it’s all about customer appreciation,” said Trick Truck’s Curtis Harne. “We really wanna make it a neighborhood family event, but also have the truck show at the same time.”
For those interested in registering their truck or jeep for the contest, registration will take place from 9-11 a.m. on Saturday, Sep. 20. Contestants can also pre-register to secure a spot by calling the store at (302) 934-6205.
Awards will be given out in four categories, including best modified truck, best lifted truck, best Jeep and best of show.
Winners will receive a $100 gift certificate, with the best of show winner warranting the grand prize of a $500 gift certificate.
The judging will be held from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
“It’s a contest. People are gonna be parking their vehicles, there’s three categories and four awards that we’re gonna give out,” said Harne. “We’re gonna be doing a lot of giveaways.”
To find out more about Trick Trucks, visit www.tricktrucks.com.
Delaware State Police (DSP) are still seeking the public’s help in a Millsboro homicide investigation.
William Toomey, 45, of Millsboro, a driver employed by Delaware Beach Taxi was found deceased in the cab on Aug. 20.
According to Sgt. Paul G. Shavack, director of Public Information for the DSP, through investigative leads and information, DSP homicide detectives were able to determine the timeline and route of travel of the taxicab operated by Toomey.
Detectives determined that on Aug. 20, at 7:42 p.m., Toomey picked up a male passenger as a cab fare on Coastal Highway southbound, just south of the Sea Esta IV Motel in Rehoboth Beach. He performed a U-turn at Carolina Street and continued northbound on Coastal Highway to the intersection of Miller Road.
The taxi proceeded westbound on Miller Road and made a right turn onto Airport Road. He traveled westbound on Old Landing Road, and then north on Warrington Road until reaching the John J. Williams Highway (SR24). The taxi then traveled westbound into Millsboro.
Toomey crossed over US113 and continued west on DE30, where he made a right turn onto Godwin School Road. The vehicle made a left turn, eventually turning into the Parker’s Point development, where it remained in the neighborhood for approximately 10 minutes on Parker Drive.
The taxi exited Parker’s Point, turning onto Revel Road northbound where it made a left turn, traveling westbound Godwin School Rd. The vehicle turned right onto Country Living Road, where it was abandoned west of Hardscrabble Road (SR20).
DSP said that at approximately 8:45 p.m. a passerby observed a male subject in the driver’s seat of the taxi, located on Country Living Road, who did not match the description of Toomey.
Detectives are releasing these investigative details in an effort to obtain further information and additional witnesses that may have observed the taxi during its route of travel, or a male subject entering the taxi at 7:42 p.m. on Coastal Highway, or may have observed a male subject walking in the area of Country Living Road, Godwin School Road or Hardscrabble Road at approximately 8:45 p.m.
Later that evening, around 10 p.m., police were contacted by a citizen reporting a suspicious vehicle parked on the shoulder of the road. Troopers who arrived at the scene found an unresponsive Toomey inside of the passenger compartment of the taxi. He was pronounced dead at the scene.
The death was classified as a homicide by the Division of Forensic Science, though details of the cause and manner of his death were not released due to the ongoing investigation.
Shavack said DSP homicide detectives are continuing their investigation of the homicide, and the circumstances surrounding the incident.
He added that no further investigative details can be released at this time, as to not compromise the integrity of continued investigative efforts.
Police ask that anyone who may have any information in reference to the incident, contact Homicide Detective Mark Ryde at (302) 299-6102.
Tips may also be given through the Delaware State Police Mobile Crime Tip Application available to download at, www.delaware.gov/apps. Information may also be provided to the Delaware Crime Stoppers at 1-800-TIP-3333 or via the internet at www.tipsubmit.com.
An anonymous tip may also be sent by text to 274637 (CRIMES) using the keyword “DSP.”
Good food, great music, fun games and more can all be found in Millsboro this weekend.
The Greater Millsboro Chamber of Commerce will hold the second annual Millsboro Country Festival on Saturday, Sept. 20, from 11 a.m. to 9:30 p.m.
Held entirely at the Millsboro Little League Complex, attendees may enjoy a day filled with tasty food, crafts, a beer garden and more. All-day tickets for adults cost $5 and children ages 12 and under may attend for free.
Music lovers should bring their lawn chairs and set up for a day of great music. Starting at 11 a.m., Flatland Drive will perform, followed by Brady J at 12:30 p.m. Dirt Road Outlawz will take the stage at 4 p.m., followed by the Bo Dickerson Band. The Tennessee Mafia Jug Band will close out the evening, starting at 7:30 p.m.
But music isn’t the only thing families can enjoy while attending the festival. At 2 p.m. the Delmarva Star, Hillbilly’s Got Talent, and Sharp Dressed Redneck contests will take place, followed by the Mountaire Chickin’ Pickin’ contest.
A Kidz Korner will be set up, complete with inflatables, a train, face painting and many games. At 1 p.m. kids can enjoy gardening with East Coast Garden Center, while potting their very own aloe plant.
New this year is the RC car race track competition, run by Fast Action Motor Sports Entertainment. Attendees can try their hand at a stock car simulator and tire changing.
“The big attraction this year is the motor sports,” said Amy Simmons, the chamber’s executive director.
The event drew approximately 2,500 people to the town last year, and Simmons said they hope to draw more.
“I hope to see a large turnout like we had last year. I’d love for everyone to come out and have a great day of fun.”
Simmons said the event would not be possible without the 60-plus volunteers who have donated time and effort to help make the festival a success.
“A lot of work was put in on this. A lot of time getting it together — it was a labor of love,” she said. “We’re hoping for very good weather, a lot of people, and a great day.”
For more information about the event, contact the Greater Millsboro Chamber of Commerce at (302) 934-6777 or email email@example.com. The Millsboro Little League Complex is located at 262 W. State Street, in Millsboro.
With some old details ironed out, Millville Town Council approved the revised final site plan application for Millville by the Sea’s Lakeside Village neighborhood of 45 single-family lots. The original 70 quad-plexes were nixed for space constraints.
The revised trail, bridge and rest area also fit engineering concerns as developers await the wetlands permit for building.
Chuck Ellison, vice president of Miller & Smith, said there will be premium assessment due to the trail.
Council was also delighted to learn that Millville volunteers helped facilitate a massive donation to Camp Barnes from ACTS (Atlantic Community Thrift Shop).
After making a $5,000 donation earlier this year, ACTS matched itself by recently repeating the contribution. Linda Kent reported that ACTS also delivered a truckload of furniture and other supplies for the recreational children’s summer campground.
The next Town council workshop is scheduled for Sept. 23 at 7 p.m.
If you are 50 years of age or older, the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at the University of Delaware invites you to continue your education, while meeting other community members with similar interests.
“We operate under the Division of Professional and Continuing Studies as a separate nonprofit entity. We are member funded, so we’re self-supporting,” explained Anna Moshier, program coordinator for the program at Lewes.
This year, the program expanded its offerings, moving from the Bethany Beach municipal building to Ocean View Town Hall.
“We expanded to a new location that allows us to offer more courses,” said Moshier. “This particular semester we have 78 courses between Lewes and Ocean View, so we have quite a few…. Fall by far is our most popular semester.”
Courses vary from standard lectures to hands-on activities — such as pottery and dance.
“We offer movement classes such as tai chi and yoga, english country dance as well as lecture courses,” Moshier said. “We offer a variety… We have art courses, so you can learn about art history in a lecture setting or you can actually take a painting class, basketry class, stained glass, pottery or something like that.”
To take classes in both the fall and spring semesters, participants must pay $225. If a community member would rather only take one semester of classes, the membership fee is $130. A shortened four-week session is available in June for $50.
“It’s a membership organization. So you pay a membership fee and you can take as many classes as you’d like. The classes are for the Lewes location and the Ocean View location. That includes as many courses as you want to take on a space-available basis,” she said. “We offer trips and they do cost extra from the membership but members do get a discount versus a nonmember, and they do get priority.”
Those who sign up for classes will be given reading materials, a syllabus, and any other related course papers.
“No grades, no tests, no homework,” stressed Moshier. “It’s learning for the joy of learning. People have said to me through the years, they don’t want to sit at home and get old. They want something to do and it’s great.”
Classes are offered in Ocean View on Mondays and Wednesdays, and Mondays through Thursdays in Lewes. Registration began in July, however Moshier said those who wish to still take classes this fall semester may still sign up.
“If they missed a week or two it’s okay. We’ll still let you in,” she said. “We have some 10-week courses and some five-week courses. So there are some that started in the first five weeks now and the second five weeks will start in October, so there are still opportunities to take classes as well.”
Currently, Osher is seeking community member volunteers interested in teaching or organizing a course.
“We’re in the beginning phases of accepting course proposals for our spring semester that starts in January. All instructors are volunteers. They submit their course ideas to us. They can either submit proposals online or call us. We’re always accepting new ideas, especially for Ocean View. We’re always looking to expand that program.”
Osher also has locations in Dover and Wilmington, however Moshier noted that those programs operate separately from the Lewes program.
“We are 25 years in existence this year. We started in Milford and have moved to a variety of different locations. We’ve been in the Cape Henlopen School District going on 10 years now.”
This is the first time the program has been offered in Ocean View, and Moshier said they are excited about their new partnership with the town.
“We had been looking for a location. We had been using the Bethany Beach town hall for free. They had graciously partnered with us for free but we wanted the extra space,” she said. “It has been a wonderful partnership so far. We look forward to years of it. They have more space if we want to expand and there’s plenty of parking… This has been a good growth move for our organization.”
Where should pets go during a storm evacuation? How can you treat substance abuse? What happens in search-and-rescue? What’s your own cholesterol level?
The answers to many health and safety questions can be found in Millville Town Hall on Saturday, Sept. 20, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
The public is invited to a free Preparedness, Safety & Health Fair, hosted by Blackwater Village Association’s Community Emergency Response Team Advisors (CERTA).
People can get helpful hints to prepare for an emergency requiring a possible evacuation, need for shelters, care of the elderly, handling of pets and more.
Beebe Healthcare will also offer free flu shots, and free health screenings for blood pressure, glucose, cholesterol, bone density and BMI.
“We started with a safety fair, and I said for safety, we ought get somebody from health,” said co-organizer Cherry Gonder. “The ball started rolling. Everybody got excited.”
CERTA is a community action team of interested citizens who provide information to assist in preparing for an emergency. Although they aren’t actual emergency responders, Gonder said they aim to educate people.
People can ask questions of the American Red Cross, Poison Control Center, Atlantic General Hospital, Department of Transportation, National Guard, Delaware State Police, Ocean View Police, Millville Volunteer Fire Company and Sussex County Emergency Operations Center. Even Civil Air Patrol will discuss search-and-rescue missions. Animal advocacy groups will also share the best plans for animals in emergencies.
Health-wise, there are booths for Hospice, La Red, women’s health, substance abuse and more.
“We’re gonna have piles of info on the tables,” Gonder said. “Right now I’m just hoping it all fits.”
A bake sale will keep things sweet and benefit Indian River High School cross-country team and other students.
State Sen. Gerald Hocker, Rep. Ron Gray, Sussex County Rep. George Cole, and other legislators were invited to make an appearance.
The Sussex County Council was given an overview of the Sussex County 2016-2021 Capital Transportation Program Request earlier this week.
Each year the Delaware Department of Transportation (DelDOT) develops a six-year Capital Transportation Plan (CTP) that identifies anticipated capital investments. Each year DelDOT requests the county provide program request information for its planning purposes.
County Administrator Todd Lawson said it is a way for the County to highlight what it believe needs to be addressed, as well as a way for DelDOT to seek federal funding for projects that are federally funded or are eligible.
Chip Guy, chief public information officer for the county, said much of the draft CTP request is the same as previous years.
Guy said the county’s transportation priorities include SR 1 improvements, bicycle/walking paths, and east-west improvements, including SR 24 and SR 26.
The CTP fiscal year 2015 budget included approximately $20.9 million in State and federal funding for improvements for east-west corridors within the county. Guy said that State Routes 24 and 26 are two of the County’s primary east-west corridors.
“It is important to note that the SR 26 project in the Bethany, Millville, Ocean View area is moving forward. Look for that within the coming year or so to come off of our list as that project nears completion,” said Guy.
Local roads are where the majority of the changes occurred, said Guy, noting it was mostly based on council comments. Upgrades include making bicycle and pedestrian lanes, and illuminating key intersections.
Guy said there was a request to address the flooding and extending the bike on Fred Hudson Road. Double Bridges Road is also part of the request.
“We had a constituent raise a concern about the narrow nature of that road and lack of shoulders,” he said. Noting they suggested a dedicated bike path for the roadway.
For Fenwick, Councilman Vance Phillips raised a concern with respect to Lighthouse Road, and possibility of a grad-separated bike and pedestrian path at the viaduct.
The town of Millsboro requested help with regard to paving Mitchell St.
“The Town has had difficulty getting State or other funds in order to rehab that street,” said Guy.
Intersection signal timing at Atlantic Avenue at Central Avenue, and West Avenue in Ocean View are part of the request as well.
As for transportation alternatives, Guy said the requests remained much the same as in previous years. The request looked at expanding mass transit options from Wilmington to the beach, which would lessen the burden on highways.
“We’re looking for these improvements so we can continue to serve our population well and to safely accommodate the millions of visitors,” said Cole. “That’s the key. We get millions of visitors.”
Cole said he’d like extra emphasis on pedestrian concerns.
“What’s starting to bother me is the State seems to be encouraging pedestrians to interact with traffic on roads that are high risk,” he said. “I don’t believe we should be encouraging the pedestrian right of ways… Those signs encouraging pedestrians to step out in front of traffic… They have them up in north Bethany where the speed is 50 miles per hour on a four-lane highway.”
Cole requested that council seek that the Delaware Legislature consider changing state law so that pedestrians do not have the right of way on any roadway exceeding 25 miles per hour.
“It’s the most illogical thing I’ve ever seen,” he said.
“That’s a good idea, George,” said councilman Sam Wilson. “I agree with you 100 percent.”
Lawson, said that the CTP was probably not the right vehicle to seek a change in the law. But he added that language could be added to the document expressing the concern for safety with the increase use by pedestrians.
“I’ve brought it up in the past and I don’t think anybody is listening in Dover,” said Cole. “Maybe we need to see if there’s a way we can bring some sanity to it because in coastal Sussex County we got a problem with pedestrians and traffic. They don’t mix too well.”
A public hearing on the CTP will be held on Sept. 25, from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the DelDOT South District Office in Georgetown.
Council also heard a presentation on the Nanticoke Heritage Byway, part of the National Scenic Byways Program. Consultant Andy Nicol said the grassroots effort is not driven by bureaucracy or government, and is focused on preserving and enhancing select roads throughout the country.
Currently, there are 150 designated byways in 46 states. The national program has two designations — all-American and national scenic byway. There are six designated byways in the state of Delaware, including the Lewes Byway and the Delaware Bayshore.
The Nanticoke Heritage Byway, formerly known as the Western Sussex Byway, measures 39.8 miles long, extending from the Hearn and Rawlings Mill in the north to Trap Pond State Park in the South.
Nicol said intrinsic resources on the byway include the Seaford Museum Woodland Ferry and Bethel Memorial Park.
“[We’ve listed] several key resources that focus on recreational activities… but also have a lot of cultural and historic resources that we’re going to try to market to travelers,” he said.
The goal, said Nicol, is to minimizing impact on locals and travelers.
“We don’t want the byway to impact anything as it stands today.”
Nicol said there have been numerous steering committee meetings and public workshops that have been well attended.
“There’s a lot of enthusiasm and a lot of people showing up to these meetings… it has been a wonderful group.”
As for action items, Nicol said that in the short term, streetscape enhancement, development of boat launches, and adjusting the hours of tourist facilities to be more accommodating along the byway are goals.
“We want to work with local business community to accommodate our target [visitors],” said Nicol.
In the long term, they plan to monitor traffic calming issues previously addressed in Bethel, develop bike lanes and trails, as well as develop signage throughout that shares the story of the region.
Councilman Phillips asked if there could be some language that outlines that property rights would be protected for the property owners who have land along the byway.
“The highway itself doesn’t infringe on property rights,” said Dan Parsons, historic preservation planner for the county.
“Let me assure you that this does not infringe on anyone’s property rights,” said Ann Gravatt, byway program coordinator for DelDOT.
Phillips also said the byway travels through a highly agricultural area, and that he has concerns about how the travel could impact daily activities.
“Visitors are going to be seeing these types of activities… For people who are not used to seeing that, it’s a novel thing,” responded Gravatt. “To a visitor that’s very unique. We want to showcase that.”
In other County news:
• Employee of the Third Quarter is Alan Scott Baker, who works in County’s Dewey Beach maintenance location. Baker, who started working for the County in 2007, was nominated by his superior for his high level of professionalism. The nomination letter stated that Baker is, “respectful and mindful of others.”
• Hal Godwin, deputy county commissioner, presented council with the Wetlands Advisory Committee report. Godwin said the committee would meet on Sept. 25 before sending the report to the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control, before it goes to the Delaware State Legislature.
Godwin requested that council review the report and give comments at the next meeting.
• Sussex County property taxes are due Sept. 30. To view account information and make payments is available on the County’s website, at http://www.sussexcountyde.gov/property-tax-portal-tutorial.
After receiving concerned correspondence from residents, the Town of Ocean View held a workshop in order to discuss possible solutions to safety concerns.
“This particular topic arose as a result of a series of complaints that I and others received a few months ago about excessive speeds on Woodland Avenue Extended,” said Mayor Walter Curran at the Sept. 11 workshop. “The Town Council discussed this at our July meeting and it was decided to reach out to those inhabitants most directly affected, solicit their opinions and hold this meeting tonight.”
On Aug. 18, the Town sent letters to 127 homeowners who use Woodland Avenue Extended to enter and exit their homes on a regular basis. The letters included surveys asking residents to state if they were for or against turning the street into a one-way thoroughfare. Additionally, the survey asked for other suggestions that could potentially resolve the speeding problems.
Sixty-four surveys were returned to the Town, five stating they would support making the street one-way, while the other 59 responders were opposed to the idea.
“Many folks offered alternative solutions,” said Curran. “I think it is safe to say that, given both the volume of responses and the logical reasons offered against the one-way concept, that idea is now off the table. That will probably save a lot of angst…”
Kercher Engineering, the Town’s engineer also provided the Town with a traffic study as to how the street would be affected if it were turned into a one-way.
Traffic counts were taken between Thursday, Aug. 21and Thursday, Aug. 28. The Average Daily Traffic (ADT) volume on Woodland Avenue between Central Avenue and West Avenue is around 3,600 vehicles per day with an approximate traffic split of 55/45 percent directional split in traffic flow, or about 1,980 vehicles traveling eastbound and 1,620 vehicles traveling westbound in a 24-hour period.
Curran said a daily speed study was conducted by the hour, from Aug. 29 through Sept. 4.
“The vast majority of speeds clocked were in the 25 to 29 miles per hour [range]. Those were 2,830. In the 30 to 34 miles per hour there was 1,081. In the 35 to 39 miles per hour there were 60,” he said. “Yes, it’s speeding, but quite frankly it’s nowhere near what we had anticipated.”
Resident Kathy Vengazo said the study might be more meaningful if it had been done in July when the tourist season is at its heaviest.
“I’ve heard our residents out there in the roadway actually screaming ‘slow down,’ because cars go through there [so fast]. The Bear Trap bus goes through there taking people up to the beach. When you have a bus and a passenger car, and somebody speeding, you’re waiting for a disaster to happen.”
Resident Paula Howard suggesting having the Bear Trap vans take a different route, avoiding the roadway altogether.
Curran, who used to be the president of the community’s HOA said that he would discuss it with the current board.
“I will discuss it with them and have them look at that as part of the possible solution, but it’s nowhere near the whole solution.”
The report also noted that the daily volumes, which are higher on weekdays, are representative of an area that has more year-round residency than seasonal.
“Changing the traffic pattern on Woodland Avenue to one-way will have more of an impact on the local year-round residents,” wrote Project Engineer Stephen Raign of Kercher Engineering in the study.
Resident Richard Nippes suggested that the Delaware Department of Transportation (DelDOT) take over ownership of the road to help motorists be more invested in the road.
“I’d be willing to bet that the vast majority of the cars that come down Woodland Avenue are non-taxpaying residents. In my opinion, Woodland Avenue has become a thoroughfare,” he said. “This road should be a state road — that DelDOT should assume control over it. Therefore everyone who traveled it would have skin in the game.”
Mike Somers, senior transportation planner for DelDOT said the department could take over the road, but had not been asked to do so.
“If the Town wants to work with the department about assuming the responsibility that’s not impossible. There would be warrants that have to be met, the roads has to be to certain standard but it’s been done before.”
Resident Greg Neuner said that he has a love-hate relationship with the road.
“I love it because it’s a way to stay off of 26 during the busy tourist season. It gets me to where I need to go and avoid a lot of traffic. I hate it because I’m scared to death that I’m going to come around that curve and hit a bicyclist,” he said, asking if it would be possible to have the bicyclists travel on the sidewalks. “I think whatever improvements might be down the line, a bicycle lane ought to be part of that.”
Fred Nunley, president of the Briarcliffe homeowners association commented that there has been an enforcement issue on the road, which has caused some of the issues.
“There has been, in the past law enforcement attempting to write tickets. We have noticed that that has diminished. That might be a labor force issue or what have you, but it’s not as robust as it used to be. We would like that to be reinstated,” he said. Adding, “the Town, to address some part of this problem approximately three years ago decided to put up some signage that said ‘no trucks’ on Woodland Avenue.
“There has been absolutely no enforcement of ‘no trucks’ on Woodland Avenue. What I get from that, if you put the sign up, it must’ve been an intention to enforce it. If there wasn’t an intention to enforce it the sign shouldn’t have been there.”
Curran said that police enforcement had actually been stepped up on Woodland to try and address residents’ concerns, however they are unable to police the road at all times.
Nippes said one of his neighbors saw an 18-wheeler traveling on the road the morning of the workshop.
“That road is not built to handle 18-wheelers,” he said. “There was a police officer there and that truck was not pulled over. Now, I don’t think he was in the wrong because if he came off of West there are no signs saying ‘no trucks allowed.’… They’re dangerous… The weight of them could damage that particular type of road.”
Rob West, who owns a farm on the road, and said the reason the 18-wheeler was on Woodland was because they were harvesting corn.
“I’m sorry, but we still have some farmland around here in town,” he said.
One resident stated that the tractor-trailer that had traversed Woodland that morning was not for farming, but marked as a US Foods truck.
“There are other tractor-trailers on Woodland,” she said.
Nippes said that a truck restriction on the road would obviously make allowances for trucks making deliveries; the concern is trucks using the road as a shortcut.
Neuner also said he would support lowering the speed limit to 20 mph. Dan Verona of Briarcliffe also suggested the speed limit be lowered on the roadway.
“In dealing with residential traffic, in Delaware Code, the speed limit is 25 miles per hour. DelDOT doesn’t post below that anywhere,” Somers said noting the rare exception would be in parks or something similar. “It’s very unusual.”
Somers went on to say that lowering a speed limit would not necessarily improve safety.
“If you get hit by a car that is going 20, 25, you’re less likely to get killed than if you got hit by a car going 45. But if you’re driving safely, and speeding is the only consideration, then it’s not inherently less safe.”
Verona also said he believes there is a correlation between lane width and speed.
“Generally speaking, as the road gets wider capacity increases even if it’s not a separate lane. If you have a 9-foot road, and you make it into a standard 12-foot lane, then speeds are going to increase naturally,” responded Somer. “Inversely, then you would also expect the speeds to go down. One of the [measures] of traffic calming is to narrow traffic lanes.”
Other solutions suggested by residents included putting a four-way stop at Woodland and West Avenues, installing a four-way stop at both Briarcliffe and Mitchell Estates, and speed restrictors, such as speed bumps.
Councilman Bob Lawless addressed the nearly 40 attendees, as the councilman who suggested the one-way.
“The purpose was to cause what has happened tonight to occur,” he said. “No one had any thoughts or input… I did this to get people here tonight to come up with creative thoughtful ideas that you’ve come up with. I thank you so much for coming out and sharing them with us.
“The idea that we five on council are the repository of all wisdom and can make good decisions without your input is insane. We need you.”
Curran invited those who attended the workshop along with all other town residents to the town’s Oct. 14 meeting, where the council hopes to make a decision on the town’s next step.
“There are issues out there that will drag out the long-term perfect solution, there’s no question about that,” he said. “We will have a decision for this specific problem. It may not be the most perfect decision but I guarantee you it will help.”