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    Special to the Coastal Point • Submitted : ‘Dancing Grasses’ by Ellen Rice, a pastel, employs an unusual method to achieve luminosity and vibrance.Special to the Coastal Point • Submitted : ‘Dancing Grasses’ by Ellen Rice, a pastel, employs an unusual method to achieve luminosity and vibrance.The Ellen Rice Gallery will host a three-day Fall Open House this Columbus Day weekend, featuring a meet-and-greet with Rice on Saturday from 2 to 4 p.m., a “Disney Day” on Sunday, hourly from 10:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., a gallery-wide sale and light fall refreshments throughout.

    During the open house, Rice will share her passion for painting the colors of fall on the shore, showcase some of her newest paintings, including oil and pencil portraits, and personalize prints.

    Friday through Monday, the artist is also offering 20 percent off all of her prints and all handmade art and fine crafts in her gallery (except consignment work) “in an effort to reward collectors for traveling through the Route 26 project construction zone.”

    “There is no road construction scheduled during the long weekend,” she noted, “but signage is misleading and I thought by offering this event I could highlight the fact that the road will be easy to travel over the weekend. The project is hurting many local businesses.

    “Hopefully, the holiday weekend will boost sales for local businesses and help us all catch up on what are normally some of the best sales of the year,” she added. “Our event is a great time to get some early holiday shopping in!”

    Rice, voted “One of Delaware’s 10 Most Collectible Shore Artists” several years ago, has lived on the shore since 1962, the last 19 years on the edge of the James Farm in Ocean View, and has been painting professionally since the 1970s. To date, she has more than 100 paintings of the region and beyond in print. Among her most collected works are her “Strength of Woman Series” paintings and her nationally bestselling “Treasure Beaches of the Mid-Atlantic” map.

    She opened the Ellen Rice Gallery in 1999 and within five years it was named a National NICHE Retailer Award Finalist, competing against established galleries across the country.

    The Ellen Rice Gallery is located at 103 Atlantic Avenue in Ocean View, 2.2 miles west of Route 1 in Bethany Beach. Her work can also be viewed and purchased at For more information, call the gallery at (302) 539-3405.

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    A public workshop on Ocean View Streetscape Improvements Phase III will be held on Tuesday, Oct. 14, from 4 to 6 p.m. at town hall.

    “This is a preliminary plan that is going to be presented to those people whose properties abut the pathway, or anyone else who’s interested in coming to the meeting, so they can gather input from these people to try to make sure of any area where the sidewalk is going,” explained Charles McMullen, Ocean View’s director of Public Works.

    In past years, the town council had voted in favor of moving forward with Phases I and II of the project. The Town splits costs of the project with the federal government, under the Federal Transportation Enhancement Program, 80/20. Each phase may not exceed $1 million.

    The proposed third phase will connect to the sidewalks built in Phase I on Woodland Avenue, and according to the Delaware Department of Transportation (DelDOT), improve pedestrian access and safety along the corridor.

    Specifically, if approved by the council, Phase III would add sidewalks along the east side of Central Avenue from Woodland Avenue to Atlantic Avenue and continue on the west side of Central Avenue from Atlantic Avenue to John West Park.

    McMullen said that those attend will have the chance to look at displays of the proposed sidewalk project, as well as ask questions.

    “There will be a little presentation in the beginning to try to explain some of the issues that arise with such a project,” he said. “We’re going to try to explain what an easement is — that it’s not a taking of your land, it’s that you’re giving permission to an entity to use that portion of the land. It doesn’t diminish property value, because it’s still part of your property.”

    Town and DelDOT officials recommend that those who will be affected by the proposed phase, or who are interested in learning more, attend the meeting. Those who are unable to attend but wish to comment may send comments to DelDOT Public Relations, P.O. Box 778, Dover, DE 19903 or sent via email to

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    The Ocean View Town Council will hold its second public hearing for an ordinance to amend the Town’s Code related to hours of alcoholic beverage consumption in restaurants at its monthly meeting on Oct. 14 at 7 p.m.

    The Town was contacted in the spring by a restaurant owner requesting the code be changed.

    “It was an inquiry, a request by a business owner in town, to see if the Town would consider to extend the hours of service and consumption of alcoholic beverages in a restaurant to mirror those of the State of Delaware,” explained Charles McMullen, director of Public Works for the town.

    As the Town’s current code reads, alcohol may not be sold or dispensed for consumption on the premises between the hours of 11:30 p.m. and 9 a.m.

    The amendment proposes to revise the permitted hours of alcoholic beverage service and consumption in restaurants in Ocean View to be identical to those set by Delaware state law. Those who are licensed with the Office of the Delaware Alcoholic Beverage Control Commissioner to sell alcoholic beverages may do so from 9 a.m. to 1 a.m., seven days a week, unless prohibited by such a local code.

    The new code would add 90 minutes each night when alcohol could legally be served and consumed in the town.

    The proposed ordinance was reviewed by the Planning & Zoning Commission in June, and commissioners recommended unanimously that council adopt the ordinance. The first reading and public hearing was held during the Town’s September council meeting, and those in attendance at that meeting made no public comments for or against the change.

    McMullen said those interested in proposed ordinance should attend Tuesday’s meeting.

    “It’s a public meeting. It’s an opportunity for people to, if they so choose, comment for or against the proposed ordinance,” said McMullen. “Afterward, the town council will have the opportunity at that time to vote on the ordinance.”

    Ocean View Town Hall is located at 32 West Avenue. For those who are unable to attend the meeting, comments may be sent to town officials by visiting ?

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    Calling all witches and ghouls: Goodwill of Delaware’s annual Halloween Costume Competition is under way.

    “For Goodwill of Delaware, the month of October is our biggest sales month of the year, because everyone shops at Goodwill to get all the items they need for their Halloween costume,” said Ted Sikorski, vice president of marketing and development for Goodwill of Delaware.

    “One of the things we wanted to do was have some sort of competition between people who are using Goodwill items to make their Halloween costumes. So, we came up with this photo contest.”

    Those who wish to enter the contest must post entries by Nov. 5. The contest is open to customers of Delaware and Delaware County, Pa., stores who were 18 or older on or before Oct. 1, but parents can enter their child’s costume using the parent’s name and contact information. Entrants must use at least three items purchased from a Goodwill store between Oct. 1 and Oct. 31, and save their receipt.

    “What we encourage people to do is shop at Goodwill, take the items they’ve purchased, make them into their Halloween costume, take a picture of it and then share those photos with us via social media,” explained Sikorski. “We ask they have at least three items they’ve purchased at Goodwill. It could be something as simple as a pair of pants, a bed sheet and something else that they’ve taken and turned into a Halloween costume.”

    In order to better serve Goodwill customers, the stores’ Halloween footprints have been expanded to include a Halloween shop within each store.

    “Traditionally, Goodwill has a lot of donated items that we then turn into Halloween costumes. This year, we’ve added a new-goods section: items that we have available for sale that we normally don’t get donated — tems like wigs, makeup, accessories, pre-packaged costumes, hosiery — all kinds of other things that will enable someone to make Goodwill their one-stop Halloween shop so they can get everything they need.”

    Those submitting costumes to the contest will have the opportunity to win in one of two categories — Most Creative and Fan Favorite.

    “This year, we have expanded it. Before, it was Most Creative, with a number of prizes for first, second and third places. This year, we changed it up a bit and have two different categories,” said Sikorski, stating that the Most Creative costume will be chosen by Goodwill staff.

    “We’ve also added a Fan Favorite category. In that, we encourage people to post their photos on our Facebook page and link it to their Facebook page, and encourage their friends and family to vote for it.”

    The entrant who receives top honors for Most Creative will win an iPad mini, and the Fan Favorite will receive a $250 Visa gift card.

    Last year, more than 80 entries were received, and Sikorski said entries continue to get better each year.

    “It has been growing year after year. Every year, people get more and more creative. Some of the winners in the past have been people who have made a group costume. One winner was a family that dressed up as sushi. One costume looked like a bottle of soy sauce, and another looked like sushi rolls. Another year, we had the ‘KISS Kids Band,’ a bunch of 6-, 7-, and 8-year-olds who dressed up like the rock group KISS.

    “People are very creative. I’m always surprised but also encouraged by what I see every year. I look at things and go, ‘I never would have taken those items and created something that looks like that.’ We look forward to it every year.”

    It’s not all fun and games, as Goodwill Industries is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization whose mission is to “improve the quality of life for people with barriers to self-sufficiency through the Power of Work.”

    “There’s a mission behind the Halloween mischief this year,” said Sikorski. “Ninety cents of every dollar we raise goes back to support that mission. We’re very proud of that fact.”

    Sikorski said Goodwill has been able to help those who have been affected by the economic downturn.

    “For us, when the economy took a downturn, we saw more and more people turning to Goodwill for help. One of the programs we’re very proud of is a cashiers’ skills training program with Delaware ShopRite stores.

    “We have a training classroom at our building here in Wilmington, and every five weeks we have a new class of cashiers that we train, that upon graduation go directly to work at on the area ShopRites in Delaware,” he said, noting that approximately 600 people have graduated from the program over the last five years. “That’s one program that continues to see strong interest because there’s a job at the end of it. It’s not just training for the sake of training.”

    Sikorski said Goodwill has found that there are still people who are unaware that Goodwill is more than a store.

    “That’s one of our challenges. It’s something we try to the greatest extent possible. We’ve done a lot via social media. We’ll routinely post things about our mission on our Facebook page. We also created a YouTube channel where we have video stories of people we have helped. Every year, we have a big awards luncheon and have 600 people at the Chase Center in Wilmington.”

    In order to help spread the word, Goodwill is hoping to take their “story on the road” in 2015.

    “We’re looking for speaking opportunities in the community where we can share with the community what we do. People know us for the stores, they know us as a place where they can donate items, but they don’t know what happens after that. We’re always looking for ways to tell our story.”

    Sikorski said that Goodwill has even created a new tagline to help promote its mission: “Donate. Shop. Create Jobs.”

    “In the simplest form that describes what Goodwill does. You donate your items, you shop, and we take those funds and create jobs and help people in the community.”

    To enter Goodwill’s Creative Halloween Costume Contest, visit A Goodwill retail store is located at 339 E. Dupont Highway, in the Mid-Sussex Shopping Center, on Route 113 in Millsboro. To learn more about the organization’s work, visit To hear stories of those who have been positively impacted by Goodwill, visit

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    Coastal Point • R. Chris Clark : The fall scene at Parsons Farm Produce. The farm will be holding its annual Fall Festival on Saturday, Oct. 11. The event will feature a petting zoo, straw maze, toddler maze, Punkin Chunkin machines and more.Coastal Point • R. Chris Clark : The fall scene at Parsons Farm Produce. The farm will be holding its annual Fall Festival on Saturday, Oct. 11. The event will feature a petting zoo, straw maze, toddler maze, Punkin Chunkin machines and more.Harvest season is here, and Parsons Farms Produce is welcoming the community to its sixth annual Fall Festival on Saturday, Oct. 11, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

    “Everybody just comes and has a good time all day,” said owner Paul Parsons. “Bring a chair, sit back and watch the Punkin Chunkin machines.”

    People might even get the opportunity to pull the trigger.

    Now that the next official Punkin Chunkin event has been postponed to 2015, “If you want to see Punkin Chunkin, this is the only place,” Parsons emphasized.

    The popular petting zoo puts people right next to their favorite farm animals, including pigs, goats, chicks and much more.

    People can also get lost in a massive new straw maze, or challenge their little ones to try the toddler maze.

    Kids of all ages should find something entertaining, from rubber duck races and pumpkin bowling to a huge inflatable obstacle course.

    Kids and adults can compete for trophies in pie-eating contests and bobbing for apples.

    “We just want people to come out and have a good time,” Parsons said. “I think everybody loves the contest we have with the kids. Anytime you’ve got 30 kids up there with their hands behind their backs, eating pie,” it’s a sight to see, he said.

    Admission to the festival is free, and the farm stand will also be open for business. But some of the events have an admission fee. People can also buy unlimited-access wristbands, to keep things simple.

    The Future Farmers of America (FFA) is returning to the event, with its annual Cow Pie Bingo fundraiser.

    “You want to promote agriculture really the best you can to high school kids — maybe spark an interest in them … in agriculture.”

    The festival also includes an antique tractor show, hayrides, pumpkin painting and carving, plus a build-your-own scarecrow craft.

    Fresh-cooked barbecue will be on the menu, including pulled pork and hotdogs.

    This is also the market’s last hurrah, as the farm stand closes after Oct. 31, briefly reopening after Thanksgiving to sell Christmas trees. It will return in 2015, with early greenhouse strawberries.

    In case of rain, check the Parsons Farms Produce page, as the event could be postponed to the following Saturday.

    Parsons Farms Produce is located in Dagsboro on Route 20 (Armory Road). Call (302) 732-3336 for more information.

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    Coastal Point • Laura Walter : A pizza comes rolling out of the oven at Pizza Palace III in Selbyville. The pizza parlor offers delivery service across much of the area.Coastal Point • Laura Walter : A pizza comes rolling out of the oven at Pizza Palace III in Selbyville. The pizza parlor offers delivery service across much of the area.Pizza Palace III has come to Selbyville, and with a delivery service, it’s bringing the party all over Sussex County. Located in the Strawberry Center on Route 113, it takes the place of the former Pizzelli’s restaurant.

    In the kitchen, freshly made dough rises on the counter, and the sauce is a secret recipe. Hand-rolled into each pan, pizza headlines a long Italian-style menu. Any combination is available, building on top of golden melted mozzarella cheese: Mexican pizza with hot sauce, tomato, onion, jalapeno and chicken; meat lovers; vegetarian; Hawaiian; classic white pizza with garlic butter and mozzarella; cheesesteak pizza; and more.

    Or, diners can try a variation, with the Stromboli, steak-o-boli or calzone.

    “They love the pizza here — dinner specials at a decent price,” said Salvatore “Sal” Barbagallo, partner and pizza master.

    “It’s really good food. Sal is the driving force behind it,” said owner Lynn Pomeroy.

    Although unaffiliated with the Georgetown and Millsboro restaurants of the same name, Pomeroy said Pizza Palace III has the blessing of the original owner, “Big Pete” Politis.

    “I never would have opened it without Pete’s backing,” Pomeroy said. “Sal’s right in there with me. … He’s the one that was there with Pete from the very beginning.”

    Having worked alongside Politis, Barbagallo is now proud of “pizzas, the taste. … There’s timing that has to do with good pizza.”

    He also likes the prime rib, and the shrimp and crab a la vodka.

    Patrons can enjoy a beer or wine with dinner specials that include pork loin, chicken and broccoli alfredo or spicy Louisiana chicken with shrimp. Pasta lovers can opt for ziti, spaghetti, baked ravioli or chicken, eggplant or sausage and pepper Parmigiana. Chicken Romana matches chicken breast, eggplant and ricotta with marinara, mozzarella and spaghetti.

    The sky’s the limit with sandwiches, such as steak and chicken cheesesteak subs, wraps, burgers and cold subs. A children’s menu includes grilled cheese, chicken fingers, hotdogs and PB&J. And those looking for more can round out the meal with soup, salad or chicken wings.

    Daily lunch specials get creative with other options: chicken quesadilla, a flounder sub, Tex-Mex grilled chicken sandwich, stuffed peppers and more.

    Dessert might be cannoli made to order, milkshakes, cheesecake, tiramisu, chocolate or carrot cake, rice pudding or — special for autumn — pumpkin cake.

    “Now that football season is on, we’ll try to do some special for that on Monday, Sunday, Thursday nights,” Barbagallo added.

    “We’re dedicated,” Pomeroy said. “We’re always open for suggestions to improve ourselves, and we go the extra mile.”

    Daily specials include: Buy a large pizza, get a free small cheese pizza (Mondays through Wednesdays); Buy two large pizzas, get a free 2-liter soda (Thursdays through Sunday); and Two slices of cheese pizza and a 22-ounce soda for $4.50 (daily, dine-in or carry-out).

    Free delivery is available with a $15 order, from noon to 9 p.m., Thursday to Monday. (Don’t forget to tip!) The delivery area ranges from West Fenwick to Gumboro and from Dagsboro to Ocean Pines, Md.

    Pizza Palace III is located at 38394 DuPont Boulevard and can be reached at (302) 436-5490 and (302) 436-5493.

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    Coastal Point • R. Chris Clark : A yoga class at Body & Soul.Coastal Point • R. Chris Clark : A yoga class at Body & Soul.Body & Soul has been offering Pilates and yoga since they opened in January of 2013; however, it wasn’t until recently that the Selbyville-based studio became the first in the area to offer barre workout classes — which is a growing exercise trend based on ballet.

    “It’s a very non-impact, yet still aerobic workout. Their heart rates are elevated but at a maintained level,” said Body & Soul barre instructor Erin Dunworth. “It’s a proven exercise that we just haven’t had around here. Every week we get a couple new clients.”

    “[We’re] following the curve,” added Body & Soul owner Di Hill. “[It’s] a group fitness exercise, and then adding in the fundamentals of Pilates, which is strengthening and a lot of core work, and yoga, which is the stretching part — so it’s a compressive program.”

    While Hill has only owned the studio for going on two years, she brings 35 years of experience in various exercise and health practices, including Pilates, personal training, reformer training and yoga, and is certified in them all.

    “I don’t like to say ‘35 years,’ because it makes me sound old,” she joked. “I like to say ‘over 20 years.’”

    Similarly, Dunworth is no stranger to barre and ballet.

    “I’ve been ballet training since I could walk, so I’m bringing the ballet side of things to Di’s fitness, Pilates, yoga side,” Dunworth explained.

    The studio offers classes five days a week, Monday through Friday, which are typically drop-in classes. Each class costs $15 for a walk-in, but special pricing is offered for those who sign up for five monthly classes for $59 or unlimited classes for $79.

    “We just started unlimited classes, and people are coming four and five times a week,” Hill said. “What I like about Pilates and yoga and barre is these are things that are established — they’re science-based principles, and people understand that they get results.”

    The studio is also designed to offer a calm and inviting atmosphere, with private and small group training available, as well.

    “We really meet people where they are,” Hill described. “We offer a supportive environment and just kind of grow with you. I think that’s a nice aspect of this small boutique studio that I can give personal attention even when you’re a beginner.”

    “It’s a nice supportive environment,” Dunworth added. “The women are so supportive of each other, it’s really neat to see.”

    The studio also includes a loft area that currently isn’t being used for classes, and Hill said they’d like to use it for something that goes along with wellness.

    “We would like to see a massage therapist [or] acupuncturist in there — something that is complementary to the studio,” she explained.

    The studio is located at 33195 Lighthouse Road, #11, in Selbyville. For a full class schedule, go to their Facebook page at or visit their new website at, which was recently created by Gina Drago Designs. For more information, call Hill at (410) 251-7130 or send her an email at

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    Just in time for fall festivities, the Matt Haley Companies has added Apple Ginger to its line of Matt’s Homemade Sodas.

    “It has a bright, crisp flavor with a bite of ginger,” said Scott Kammerer, president and CEO of the Rehoboth Beach-based Matt Haley Companies.

    The seasonal flavor joins three standard sodas: Lemon Berry, Strawberry Basil Chili and Black & White (cracked black pepper, white balsamic vinegar, fresh bay leaves and palm sugar). The line also includes quinine water.

    The sodas are available at all eight of the company’s Delaware restaurants: Fish On in Lewes; Lupo di Mare and Papa Grande’s Coastal Taqueria in Rehoboth Beach; Matt’s Fish Camp and Bluecoast Seafood Grill in North Bethany; NorthEast Seafood Kitchen in Ocean View; and Catch 54 and Papa Grande’s Coastal Taqueria near Fenwick Island.

    They’re sold alone as soft drinks or used as mixers to create signature cocktails. One of the more popular libations, Kammerer said, is Haley’s Comet, made with Seacrets Dark Rum, lime juice and Apple Ginger soda. The sodas are also available at Painted Stave Distilling in Smyrna and at Seacrets, Waterman’s Seafood Company and Sunset Grille, all in Ocean City, Md.

    The Matt Haley Companies plans to open a bottling facility in West Rehoboth, which Kammerer emphasized will bring jobs to the area.

    “We want to create a flavor for each season, much like brewing companies create seasonal ales and beers,” Kammerer said. “Along with our chef-driven cuisine, it’s another way to add freshness and an artisanal touch to our menus.”

    Delaware chef and entrepreneur Matt Haley, a Washington, D.C., native, in 2014 received the James Beard Foundation’s 2014 Humanitarian of the Year Award, the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation’s Cornerstone Humanitarian Award and the International Association of Culinary Professionals’ National Humanitarian Award. He passed away in August 2014 from injuries sustained during a motorcycle accident in India while on a humanitarian mission in India and Nepal.

    The Matt Haley Companies also includes Plate Catering; Highwater Management, a hospitality management firm; and Haley/Kammerer, a hospitality consulting business. The Global Delaware Fund, a nonprofit, helps children and people in Delaware and across the globe. Many of the fund’s efforts address hunger and sustainability. Haley was also actively involved in Conti di San Bonifacio in Italy, which has a winery, an olive oil division and a hotel/restaurant. For additional information, visit

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    Coastal Point • R. Chris Clark : The current Indian River High School Band is carrying forth the unit’s traditional pageantry.Coastal Point • R. Chris Clark : The current Indian River High School Band is carrying forth the unit’s traditional pageantry.In just a few weeks, Indian River High School alumni can relive their glory days on the football field — with the band. The Indian River High School marching band is inviting all band alumni to join the field show on Friday, Oct. 24.

    “I’d love to get 30, 40 people out there, get a whole bunch of people. There’s a lot of band alumni who live in this area,” said longtime band director Mark Marvel.

    This year’s field show is a Beatles tribute, featuring “A Hard Day’s Night,” “Twist and Shout,” “I Wanna Hold Your Hand,” “Yellow Submarine” and a few verses of “Hey Jude.”

    People can polish off their old horns, or borrow one. Those in need of a borrowed instrument should reserve one early by calling Mark Marvel at IRHS at (302) 732-1500.

    “If I have it, they can borrow it, but if they just show up at 6 o’clock … it may or may not happen,” Marvel said.

    Sheet music and music stands are being provided on the field.

    “It just started because people that graduated loved [band] so much, missed it so much. They wanted to come down and play” pep songs in the stands or field show from the sideline, Marvel explained.

    Band definitely makes an impression on students. Alumni participating in the tradition range from graduates of recent years to decades ago. Even Principal Bennett Murray has brought his trumpet to the field on multiple occasions.

    “I’ve got 15 kids this year that are in the University of Delaware marching band. I’m so proud,” Marvel said. From marching band to music majors, “I’ve got kids all over the country.”

    With only a short time to practice, alumni often chuckle together as they play the new tunes on the field. Alumni can also contact Marvel for music ahead of time, picking up the music from the school.

    To play the whole game in the stands, musicians should arrive at the band room by 6:30 p.m. To play in the field show, they should arrive in the stands between 7:30 and 8 p.m., which allows time to sign in and get music. For more information, email or

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    Bethany Beach business owners are slashing prices this Columbus Day weekend, looking to sell off what’s left of their summer inventory and offer visitors and locals alike a chance for some great deals in the process.

    “It’s a great way for all the businesses to be able to attract customers to come in from the surrounding areas and get some great sales,” said Jackie Inman, owner of Bethany Beach Books.

    “[It’s] a great way for different stores to be able to clear out from summer 2014, so we can get ready for summer 2015,” said Inman.

    Some stores will be placing sale items outside, but there will still be deals to be had inside the stores, as all the businesses will operate during their normal hours.

    Inman’s store will even be offering free gift wrapping for those looking to get a jump on their Christmas shopping.

    “We do a significant deal at our store. It’s a great way for people that come into town to get Christmas presents,” she said.

    The event will kick off this Saturday and continue through Columbus Day Monday, and local restaurants are expected to offer specials, as well.

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    Last week, U.S. Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.) joined local and state officials, and representatives from the University of Delaware and the Center for the Inland Bays to announce two federal grants to support the development of oyster farming in Delaware’s Inland Bays.

    “These grants from the U.S. Department of Commerce and USDA Rural Development will look into the business potential for Delaware shellfish aquaculture,” said Carper. “Oyster farming is a win-win for Delaware, since oysters improve water quality and farming will create another local industry that provides jobs. There is good work being done in Delaware by both public and private partners, and these grants will help further that research.”

    The U.S. Department of Commerce awarded $164,341 to the University of Delaware to study the economics of ecosystem services from aquaculture and estimating consumer willingness to pay for the oysters.

    The study will be conducted by a team of scientists and economists and look into whether consumers are willing to pay more for the local oysters, with marketing showing those oysters having environmental benefits, using experimental economics. The study will also focus on the possible reduction of water production and cost savings associated with using oysters to meet water quality goals.

    “We want to generate good scientific information that can be of value to the newly forming aquaculture industry here in Delaware,” said Sunny Jardine, assistant professor in the University of Delaware’s School of Marine Science & Policy.

    USDA Rural Development also awarded the University of Delaware’s Sustainable Coastal Communities Initiative a $28,287 Rural Business Enterprise Grant to research and develop a branding strategy for Inland Bays aquaculture products that will be used by all the new shellfish farmers to brand and market their products to restaurants and other customers.

    At the event on Oct. 3, Ed Lewandowski, UD Coastal Communities Development specialist asked everyone to look to the future — October 2016 — and what it would be like to see Delaware White Gold oysters on the menu at local restaurants.

    “This local oyster is characterized as ‘plump, briny, with a sweet taste and firm texture.’ Sounds pretty good, huh?” he said. “Our Inland Bays shellfish branding project aims to bring to life that very scenario.”

    Lewandowski said that, through the funding, the initiative hopes to develop a strong market share.

    “We want to create that look, that message, that feel and, ultimately, that experience that will come from eating an Inland Bays oyster.”

    In 2013, the Delaware General Assembly passed legislation that allowed for commercial aquaculture in the Inland Bays, with Gov. Jack Markell signing the bill into law in August of 2013.

    “It’s something that is going to provide jobs, put people to work, and those people are going to have the opportunity and the predisposition to be stewards of the bays. Their success is going to be dependent on clean water,” said Chris Bason, executive director of the Center for the Inland Bays, which was instrumental in making the idea of shellfish aquaculture in the Inland Bays a reality.

    Delaware Department of Natural Resources & Environmental Control Secretary David Small said that all parties involved worked diligently to give everyone the opportunity to be heard.

    “We went about that with a lot of due diligence. We worked with many stakeholders, consulted with other states around us… We were the last state in the area, really, without an aquaculture program, and this legislation enabled that.”

    Small said the department’s primary concerns were to maintain the hard-clam population, and to not have a negative impact on waterway navigation.

    “These bays are very, very heavily used by many, many types of watercraft, from kayaks to some of the powerboats you see behind us. We wanted to make sure we were able to identify locations where it made sense, away from major navigational waterways, so these plots could thrive in a safe and healthy environment.”

    Bason said the hope is to eventually restore the oyster population in the Inland Bays to what it once was.

    “The oyster population of the Inland Bays basically collapsed due to disease. There were hardly any oysters left in our bays.”

    Working with area residents who live on bayside properties, oyster gardens have been created to see if oysters could thrive in the bays.

    “They grew these little baby oysters on oyster shell to see how it would go. Ten years later, we had 130 sites spread around the Inland Bays. What John and the Center found was that oysters grew good to excellent all over the bays… It was very exciting. We knew there was potential here in Delaware for an oyster aquaculture industry.”

    Bason said the potential clean-water impact of the oysters would be an amazing benefit for Delaware’s bays, along with the economic impact.

    “One single adult oyster filters 20 to 50 gallons of water per day. An acre of aquaculture can have up to 750,000 adult oysters. We’re talking anywhere from 11 to 40 million gallons a day filtered by one farm. Farms are filters. Not only that, they are accumulating nutrients in their biomass as they grow. When they’re harvested, those nutrients are removed from the water.”

    Carper said that having 1 to 4 percent of Delaware’s bays hosting oysters has the potential to clean up to 25 percent of the bays.

    “Think about that,” he said. “This is another potential giant step for us to clean up these waters.”

    Carper praised all those involved, stating that aquaculture in Delaware would not be possible without the support from those on the local, state and federal levels.

    “You’ve heard the old saying, ‘It takes a village to raise a child?’ Well, it takes a village to raise an oyster. Part of this village raising these oysters is the Center, part of it is the University of Delaware, part of it is the U.S. Department of Commerce… This is a team effort,” he said. “The good thing — we’ll not only end up with cleaner water but a lot more economic activity.”

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    Punkin Chunkin organizers recently announced that the event was being moved out of Sussex County, and now, it’s been moved right out of 2014, as well. The pumpkin-flinging festival, which was to begin its first season at Dover International Speedway on Oct. 24 to 26, 2014, has instead been postponed to Nov. 6 to 8, 2015.

    “It’s just frustrating. You have 20 events like this and suddenly you have come up against a brick wall,” said Frank E Shade, director of media and promotions for World Championship Punkin Chunkin. “We beat up against it a lot, and there’s a lot of sore, bloody foreheads,” he said with a chuckle.

    “There’s frustration across the board, with the viewing the public, chunkers, officers, sponsors. Everyone’s frustrated,” said Shade. “Logistically, this was a monster event to set up every year, let alone to move and try to set up at a new location.”

    “Moving an event the size of Punkin Chunkin is not easy, even when time is not a factor,” said John Huber, Punkin Chunkin president. “Both the World Championship Punkin Chunkin Association and Dover International Speedway were cautiously optimistic that the event would happen as scheduled. Ultimately, the collective decision was made to postpone the event.”

    Shade said there’s no finger-pointing going on in Dover or in organizers’ Lewes headquarters.

    “DIS was very gracious. They did everything they could do, but there’s a big difference in what was required in Dover and Kent County on business-owned land, as opposed to what we ran up against in Sussex County on a farm.”

    Until now, Punkin Chunkin has held 29 events in 28 years. It had a long run on the Wheatley Farm in Bridgeville, where even the stars of the television show “Mythbusters” made a few appearances. (Less than two weeks ago, now-former “Mythbusters” cast members Kari Byron and Tory Belleci were reported as having signed on to reprise their roles as hosts of Discovery’s televised coverage of the Delaware event for 2014.)

    Typically, 115 chunkers have competed over the three-day weekend, ranging from teams with monstrous air cannons to Boy Scouts with catapults.

    However, Dale Wheatley became less eager to host the festival on his property after a lawsuit was filed by a former Chunkin volunteer, Daniel Fair, who was paralyzed in an all-terrain vehicle accident during Punkin Chunkin 2011. Wheatley Farms and the Punkin’ Chunkin’ Association were in the crosshairs of a more than $4.5 million lawsuit. So, the event had to find a new home, which then led to the announcement that Punkin Chunkin 2014 was a no-go.

    “We’re sure we’re going to be well-prepared for the 2015 event. The momentum’s up and running now,” said Shade. “We continue work on making the 2015 even bigger and better. We have every intention of being back.”

    “With one year of lead time, we are confident we can pull off a first-class event for fans, sponsors and competitors,” Huber said, promising the dedication of Punkin Chunkin Association and DIS.

    Customers who purchased the $10 tickets to attend the event will see the refund on their credit cards within seven to 14 business days. The same applies to camping and tailgating purchases. Any questions concerning refunds can be directed to 1-800-441-7223.

    “We’re definitely not going to hold to, or take, anybody’s money,” Shade emphasized.

    For more information, visit

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    The citizens of Frankford will only have one opportunity to speak at council meetings in the future, as this past week the Frankford Town Council voted 3-2 to remove the second “citizens’ privilege” that had previously been in place on council meeting agendas.

    Councilwoman Cheryl Workman motioned to remove the second citizens’ privilege, seconded by Councilman Jesse Truitt. Workman, Truitt and Councilman Charles Shelton then voted in favor of the motion. Council President Joanne Bacon and Councilwoman Pam Davis voted in opposition.

    “I think if you do put somebody on the agenda, you get more time,” said Truitt of his reasoning in voting to delete the second citizens’ privilege. “If Miss Kathy [Murray] has a question, you’ll be on there — we’ll be prepared to answer your question…”

    “Some stuff we don’t have right here… It gives us a whole 30 days to get you an answer.”

    Workman said she agreed with Truitt’s reasoning.

    “The other reason I chose to delete the second one is it’s the same topic — you get the same person back after back,” she said, adding that she felt public comments go back and forth between citizens, with little order.

    Resident Jerry Smith asked council to explain how, if citizens must speak prior to council discussion of an agenda item, they would be able to address items that had yet to be discussed by the council at that point in the meeting.

    “It seems to me that making us speak at the beginning of the meeting is to prevent us from questioning the council, from asking questions,” he said.

    The decision confused some who attended the meeting, who had believed the change would mean they would no longer have any opportunity to speak to the council before an item was brought to a possible vote.

    “By doing away with citizens’ privilege I’m not going to have an opportunity to comment on anything that’s on the current agenda. I’m always going to be 30 days behind. So, anything you vote for, you will have already voted for before we’ve had the chance to have our say,” said Robbie Murray.

    Workman said the citizens would still have the opportunity to comment on items on the meetings’ agendas during the first citizens’ privilege, at the beginning of the meeting, which will be retained.

    Resident and former mayor Bernard Lynch said the original reason behind adding an additional citizens’ privilege at the end of council meetings had been to give citizens the opportunity to voice their concerns regarding items not posted on the agenda.

    “All this other stuff that’s going on should not be allowed,” he said. “I don’t know why you want to change it, but evidently you do.”

    Instead of having a second time for residents to voice concerns, the council will continue to accept citizens’ requests to be placed on the agenda for an upcoming council meeting.

    Resident Dawn Beck said the council is being too restrictive in deciding when citizens can speak and what they’re allowed to speak about.

    “Are you the town or are we the town?” she asked. “Where do we get a word in edgewise? We’re the town, not you six.”

    “We represent the town, the residents and taxpayers,” said Bacon.

    “You can run for office, too,” responded Truitt.

    Resident Marty Presley said he had requested to be placed on the October agenda and was told that such an addition required a majority vote of the council.

    “I was told the majority of the council wasn’t made aware of it,” he said.

    The council members said they had all been called about the request, and there was a majority vote to not include Presley on the agenda.

    “Charles [Shelton] made a suggestion — instead of coming here and ranting on about things — if you have questions to ask, about being on the agenda,” said resident Jerry Smith. “It had been tried before… We were turned down each time. The same thing is occurring now. From the way it’s turning out to be, it’s virtually impossible to get on the agenda. How long are we going to allow this to go on?”

    Resident Greg Welch said he had requested to be placed on the agenda for October to discuss the Town’s Charter change related to pensions but was not placed on the agenda.

    “Was there a vote taken to not have the Charter change discussed on the agenda? … Was it unanimous? Can I hear what it was,” he asked.

    “I voted no, because the decision has already been made. I don’t know what else we can do,” said Bacon.

    In December 2013, Welch filed two complaints with the Attorney General’s Office, alleging the town violated the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) by not discussing changing the Town’s Charter related to pensions.

    “Council voted to approve the amendment without discussing or revealing what the changes were,” he wrote in his Dec. 4, 2013, letter.

    In the Jan. 13, 2014, decision by Deputy Attorney Edward Black, the State found that the Town was not in violation of FOIA, as the topic was placed on the agenda for the council’s Dec. 2, 2013, meeting.

    “At the beginning of the Dec. 2 meeting, the Council took public comment with respect to posted agenda items. There were no objections to the proposed amendment. During the ‘New Business’ portion of the meeting, without discussion, a motion was made and approved to authorize [Town Solicitor] Mr. [Dennis] Schrader to forward the proposed amendment to the local legislative representatives for action by the General Assembly…

    “The record in the case reflects and we find, the issue the Council has attempted to address through the proposed amendment was discussed informally at several prior public meetings, at least some of which Mr. Welch attended. Mr. Welch himself brought the issue to the Council’s attention at least once.”

    “He was incorrect,” said Welch at the Oct. 6 meeting with Black. “He stated there was no proof that you met and discussed the changes to the Town’s Charter in closed session. You didn’t do it in the open. The fact is there’s nothing that shows you discussed it in open session, and that proves that you did violate FOIA.

    “All the complaints are about procedure. He didn’t resolve anything. He misrepresented FOIA… You all don’t make these decisions behind closed doors just because the Attorney General’s Office supports it.”

    Councilwoman Pam Davis, who was late to arrive at the Dec. 2, 2013, meeting said she would like to review the minutes again to make sure the Town followed procedure. She made a motion to allow Welch on the following month’s agenda; however, the motion was not seconded.

    Property owner Kathy Murray said she, too, had submitted a request to be placed on October’s agenda; however, her request was not presented to the council in time. The council voted unanimously to place her on the agenda for the November meeting.

    Residents still concerned about pension

    In July, Presley, a financial advisor, had given the council a presentation on different pension plans available to the Town. He also provided a number of companies for them to contact in order to get more information on plans.

    “To my knowledge, none of those companies have been contacted,” he said. “Are we to read anything into that?”

    “I don’t think so,” said Bacon. “I think we need to talk about it as a council and make a decision.”

    Presley emphasized that the council needs to weigh all its options before voting on the pension plan.

    Workman said the structure of the workshop on the issue will be different from regular council meetings. While it will be open to the public, the public will not be allowed to participate in the discussions.

    “You all can sit in, you can listen, you can write and take notes. At a workshop meeting we will discuss and you will listen.”

    Resident Dean Esham asked why the council wasn’t being more forthright with those concerned about what will happen with regard to pension buy-ins.

    “I’ll be honest — I don’t know what my decision will be,” said Workman. “It’s still something we’re pondering.”

    “If we’re even going with a pension plan,” added Bacon.

    Rep. John Atkins was in attendance during the meeting and remained silent until asked by Workman if he’d care to comment.

    “Obviously, I’ve walked into a hornet’s nest,” said Atkins to the council and the citizens. He suggested that the Town council appoint a committee comprised of two council members and two residents to review pension options.

    “If four of you can sit down a couple times, I think cooler heads would prevail,” he said. “You can explain your reasoning for wanting to do this. They can explain their concerns and possibly come to some middle ground. That’s the way it works in the capital —somehow decide a better motion forward and bring it back to everyone and say what this is, what we’ve decided as a collective group of equal representation.

    “I think the way you’re headed right now, both sides back and forth, I don’t think you’re getting a lot accomplished on both sides for the good of the citizens of Frankford.”

    Atkins said such a committee may help the citizens feel as if their concerns are being addressed.

    “You wouldn’t have a lot of the back-and-forth… I don’t think you’re getting a lot accomplished.”

    Resident Elizabeth Carpenter said she agreed with Atkins’ suggestion.

    “I think if we, as a collective, felt we were getting the answers to the questions posed, then these meetings would be a lot more productive.”

    Atkins also offered the Town any assistance they may need — be it an expert from the State pension office, someone from the Attorney General’s Office or an attorney from the House of Representatives.

    “I think a smaller group could come to a decision,” he added.

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    Selbyville made national headlines this week after a 4-year-old girl reportedly brought heroin into her daycare and began passing it out to other children.

    TullTullDelaware State Police were called to Hickory Tree Child Care Center, outside of Selbyville, on Oct. 6 after daycare providers observed some of the children with small bags of an unknown substance. The white powdery substance, which was still enclosed in the bags, was removed by the teachers and immediately taken to the Selbyville Police Department, where it was determined to be heroin.

    “Some employees from the daycare actually brought it here to the department to see if the officers here knew what it was. Obviously, from experience, they were quickly identified. A quick field test was also done to confirm it,” said Selbyville Police Chief W. Scott Collins. “Officers immediately responded to the daycare and contacted Delaware State Police. Our initial response was for the concern of the safety of the kids and adults in the daycare, to make sure no one there had been exposed. That was our primary concern.”

    Collins said paramedics also responded to the daycare facility after it was determined there was a possibility that those in the facility might have been exposed to the drug.

    “Especially at these kids’ young age, if they were to ingest it, there could’ve been a likelihood of death or a severe reaction to it,” said Master Cpl. Gary Fournier, public information officer for the Delaware State Police, of the possible risks of exposure to the drug. “The caution of keeping it out of their hands, checking them out at the hospital, examining them — they were found not to be under the influence or have any signs of taking it.”

    The preliminary investigation conducted by the Delaware State Police revealed that the 4-year-old girl had unknowingly brought the small bags of heroin into the childcare in a backpack that her mother had given her after hers had been ruined by the family’s pet the night before.

    After finding the packets, and thinking they were candy, she began passing them out to her classmates that morning at daycare.

    Several children who came in contact with the unopened bags were transported to area hospitals as a precautionary measure and were released after being examined. A total of 249 bags of heroin, weighing 3.735 grams total, were confiscated by police.

    “It is a considerable amount for someone to have on them,” Fournier said. “Obviously in that situation, the bags were not for personal use but probably more for distribution. But that is still part of the ongoing investigation.”

    Fournier said that detectives worked with daycare providers to ensure that all the packets were accounted for.

    “The detectives and troopers, as well as the daycare providers, did a thorough search of all the kids. The quick response of the daycare workers finding the substance led to all the packets being recovered rather quickly.”

    Ashley R. Tull, 30, of Selbyville, the mother of the young girl, was contacted by troopers when she arrived at the daycare and was taken into custody shortly after being interviewed.

    She was later transported back to Troop 4 in Georgetown, where she was charged with Maintaining a Drug Property and three counts of Endangering the Welfare of a Child. Tull was released after posting $6,000 secured bond.

    Tull has two other children, a 9-year-old boy and an 11-year-old girl, who resided in her residence along with the 4-year-old. A no-contact order was set in place in regards to all three children, all of whom were placed in the custody of a relative.

    Fournier said detectives were continuing to investigate the case and that more charges may be forthcoming.

    Collins said that anyone who comes across a substance they are concerned may be an illegal drug may contact a police agency to have it tested.

    “Anybody who comes across a substance they aren’t sure of, they can bring it to any of the departments, who will be able to do a quick test on it to determine what it is.”

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    After a recent uproar about the potential impacts of shellfish aquaculture in the Inland Bays, local residents gathered at a massive meeting hosted by state Sen. Gerald Hocker Sr. and state Rep. Ron Gray this week to express their concerns.

    Coastal Point • Laura Walter : Residents gathered at the Millville fire hall on Monday, Oct. 6, to discuss potential impacts of shellfish aquaculture with state officials and members of the Center for Inland Bays.Coastal Point • Laura Walter : Residents gathered at the Millville fire hall on Monday, Oct. 6, to discuss potential impacts of shellfish aquaculture with state officials and members of the Center for Inland Bays.In creating an aquaculture program, the State of Delaware is juggling environmental issues with navigational concerns. That means shellfishing must coexist with boaters, crabbers and sea turtle mating grounds. But, ultimately, the Delaware Department of Natural Resources & Environmental Control was tasked by the state legislature to create a viable aquaculture industry, emphasized Secretary David Small of DNREC.

    He joined representatives from DNREC’s Division of Fish & Wildlife, the Center for Inland Bays and the University of Delaware to address a full house at Millville fire hall on Oct. 6.

    “When we have an issue the community’s concerned about, we try to get the experts in,” said Gray.

    “There’s a lot of confusion lately taking place along our waterways,” said Hocker, beginning what he said would be a “discussion on the issues in an organized and an informative manner.”

    A major public concern was the seeming lack of notification about the final regulations on aquaculture in the Inland Bays. For instance, residents said they wished DNREC had contacted homeowners’ associations directly.

    “Did everybody get notified that this was happening? No. … So we’ll apologize for that. We do what we can. It’s never enough, quite frankly. We tried to publicize very widely,” Small said. “We’re here to listen to your concerns this evening.”

    “We’re here to listen, even though we’ve listened in the past,” clarified David Saveikis, F&W director.

    When the regulations were written, he said, there were two public workshops, a public hearing and two dozen newspaper articles in local papers.

    “The word was out there. There was ample opportunity for folks to see what was going on out there.”

    He said DNREC was not required to notify every landowner with property adjacent to the bays, and “We do not have the capacity and the resources to do that.”

    DNREC was not required to consider nearby land uses, either, officials noted.

    “Your regulatory process was very flawed,” said resident and aquaculture alarm-raiser Jack Nealon, who has 37 years in the EPA’s enforcement division. “There were 14 people that commented [on the regulations]. That’s less than the front row,” he said, pointing to the crowd.

    A few problem areas

    Under the new regulations, aquaculture areas were laid out in one-acre plots: 118 in Little Assawoman Bay, 115 in Indian River Bay and 209 in Rehoboth Bay.

    In the southeast corner of Indian River Bay, Beach Cove is a small, sheltered bay, where 24 acres of aquaculture are proposed. Seven communities surround the cove, which runs from Cedar Neck to Route 1.

    Beach Cove residents have grown up or raised their own children on kayaks, water skis and sails. They described a nearly closed-off cove, protected from the wind even on choppy days. But it can get shallow in low tide, accessible only by a few marshland channels, with poor overall flushing.

    “Over half of the recreational use would be taken up by oyster industry. You’ve taken up the only channel in and out of there, sir. That goes against the spirit of the legislation,” James Vaughn said. “I know there was no ill-intent on not notifying us, [but] it’s almost 500 homes, and nobody knew about it.”

    Beach Cove communities hired attorney John Sergovic Jr. to represent them.

    “They are not opposed to aquaculture in the Inland Bays,” Sergovic said. “We all hope that the Inland Bays, with appropriately located aquaculture sites, will be a benefit not only to the environment but also benefit the economy.”

    Sergovic referenced a report written by environmental consultant Edward Launay of Environmental Resources Inc., suggesting other undeveloped shorelines be used, including some between Holts Landing and Collins Creek.

    Other issues

    Meanwhile, the land under the water may already be leased out, said Willie Coffey of The Cove. He claimed that a 1935 state law allowed people to lease the water bottom.

    “People already own the leasing rights to this site. You need to find them and find out who they are.”

    Meanwhile, he warned that the stench of aquaculture has already stifled Chincoteague, Va.

    “Five million bucks is nothing compared to the money that residents and tourism brings down here,” Coffey said.

    Near Fenwick Island, Ken Arni actually did one of the pilot programs with oyster cages, right at his job at Coastal Kayak.

    But he said the Little Assawoman isn’t big enough to support everything the State proposes, and current plans could cost people jobs. During windy days on the Little Assawoman, sailboats return to shore on a 45-degree angle, but with oyster plots immediately north and south of Coastal Kayak, “It would pretty much stop all use of sailing equipment,” he said.

    But the local clam population, at least, has a safeguard. Boats can’t drop cages in the water tomorrow. Every acre requested for oyster aquaculture must undergo a thorough biological survey. If there are more than two clams per square yard, that acre is off-limits for oysters.

    Ready to try his luck at aquaculture, Steve Friend tried to emphasize the positive, encouraging people to give aquaculture a chance.

    “They’re trying to clean the water up,” he said. People might not want it in their back yard, but he said he’d take it if he had the chance.

    “I’m sorry you feel this way. But you have to give it a chance,” Friend said.

    The audience at that point in the meeting had become so noisy that Friend sat back down until another woman took the microphone and invited him to return. Despite her own strong feelings, she said “part of the beauty of the political process” is sharing different opinions.

    “All I want to do is grow some oysters and clams,” said Friend, a lifelong resident who grew up clamming. “It’s hard work — let me put it that way. Where these places are is in shallow water. You can’t have it in the deep. If you all are down here in the winter and you get a freeze, we’ve got to get a special permit [to move cages to deeper water]. I’m up for it.”

    Friend was interrupted during his comments with interjections about the negative impact of the aquaculture plan to those willing to buy million-dollar homes locally, from property values to the pristine views.

    Friend concluded, “Your million-dollar home took the view from me to the Assawoman Bay.”

    The State’s General Fund is subsidizing the program’s cost, which the leases will not entirely cover. However, Saveikis said, there are bonds, so the State doesn’t take a loss if shellfishers abandon a plot.

    Despite the outflow of money, he said, the economic and public benefits far outweigh the costs, considering the new jobs that would be added and water quality improvements expected to be seen.

    On the maps, large chunks of bay, mostly near inland creeks and streams, are colored red. These polluted zones are off-limits to shellfishing. Despite oysters’ ability to filter 20 to 50 gallons daily, Saveikis said, they collect nutrients including nitrogen and phosphorus. They’d be unsafe to eat if they had lived in the bacterial red zone.

    The next step

    People can still make their voices heard.

    The Delaware General Assembly passed the law. The Division of Fish & Wildlife wrote the regulations. Now, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is reviewing the plan and deciding whether to issue an aquaculture permit.

    “There is another opportunity, from a formal standpoint, for you to comment, and that would be to the Corps of Engineers,” Saveikis said. “They issue a public notice. They will open the record.”

    Soon, the public will be given 30 days to submit written comments. The Corps could decide to host an actual public hearing, too.

    “We will issue a press release when we know that the Corps will do that,” Saveikis said.

    Hocker and Gray also encouraged residents to join their email lists for regular newsletters.

    “The challenge for us is to try to maintain the integrity of the program … so it’s done in a safe and responsible manner, but also to address your concerns,” Small said.

    “Aquaculture, by its very nature, will displace other water uses,” Saveikis said. “The legislature specified that aquaculture must be balanced with existing uses.”

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    Gallery One, a co-op art gallery in Ocean View, this week announced that watercolor artist Aubrè Duncan has joined the gallery as a partner.

    “Aubrè’s watercolors bring a fresh, new point of view this fine art gallery,” they said. “Aubrè’s art is bright and bold, colorful and contemporary. She paints with a limited palette of three colors; her edges are crisp and clear; shapes are simplified; themes are familiar and whimsical: bikes, beach chairs, boats, dogs in overalls, umbrellas in a field of flowers.”

    Duncan attended art school with the intention of becoming a weaver but took courses in drawing, painting, printmaking, clay and glass. She fell in love with all of them. Graduating with a degree in art education, she moved to Vermont, where she taught in public and private high schools and a community college.

    During that time she earned her master’s degree in fiber art and started a production weaving studio where she made tapestries and woven material. Her next move was to New Hampshire, where she began her artist life as a watercolorist. That has remained her passion and her professional life since she moved to Delaware 19 years ago. Duncan lives in Ocean View and works out of her home studio.

    For more information on Gallery One and each of the artists and artisans, as well as a sampling of their work, visit the website at, which also features articles, a list of classes and the opportunity to sign up for monthly e-blasts. Gallery One is always staffed by one of the artists and is open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

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    The Sussex County Association of Realtors (SCAOR) released third-quarter sales data last week that they said indicates continuing stability in the county’s real estate markets.

    “These positive housing trends continue to be fueled by strong inventories, incredible buying opportunities and interest rates that remain at below average levels,” they said.

    Thus far in 2014, an average of more than 75 homes are being sold each week in Sussex County. Those numbers are even stronger when the early months of the year, when unusually bitter temperatures gripped the region, are excluded.

    “After several quarters of growth, recent numbers indicate a more stable market year over year, which is definitely positive news,” said Brad Riedle, 2014 president of SCAOR. “We don’t want to see numbers exploding as they did a few years ago, because that sets you up for an inevitable downturn later on. So these numbers are definitely good news for our markets moving forward.”

    Single-family home sales for the months of July, August and September were virtually unchanged from 2013, with 1,249 properties being sold during the quarter. That brings the yearly number of property sales this calendar year to 2,894, which represents more than $924 million in year-to-date sales.

    The average home in Sussex County in 2014 is selling for a little more than $369,000, with month-to-month sales increasing each month during the quarter.

    Of notable interest in the county, 31 percent of all homes sold thus far this year have been sold to individuals who paid cash at closing. Many of those buyers are in the second-homebuyer market and have moved to the county from other areas after selling a previous residence.

    “As in most years, the third quarter is our strongest of the year, as Sussex County is buoyed by a large number of summertime visitors and an increase in home-buying activity in the second homeowner market,” said Riedle.

    “But this month-over-month increase is important to note, as it indicates a continuing interest in our area as a resort destination. Our proximity to the coast is definitely one of our strongest selling points and one that has served us very well for many years.”

    As has been the case for many years, three-bedroom homes continued to show the most robust sales, with nearly 1,700 homes from that sector selling thus far in 2014. That accounts for 58 percent of all homes sold during the year.

    Sussex County’s commercial real estate market also continues a sold rebound in 2014, with 155 lots and land changing hands during the third quarter, for an average price of more than $188,000.

    To read more about issues related to Sussex County’s real estate industry, visit SCAOR’s website at

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    Author Megan Hart will headline a night of cocktails and romance literature at the Frankford Public Library on Nov. 1. Women can meet the New York Times-bestselling and Romantic Times award-winning author at Girls’ Night Out that Saturday, from 7 to 10 p.m.

    “This is our first foray in to the world of glamorous Girls’ Night Out and having such a renowned author,” said Rachel Wackett, library director. “There’s plenty of space to mix and mingle. It’s gonna be so much fun.”

    Guests will mingle over hors d’oeuvres and drinks, donated by Calypso Caterers.

    Hart writes contemporary romantic and erotic fiction, as well as young adult fiction (under the penname Em Garner).

    This bestselling author is no stranger to the Frankford library. When Frankford readers discovered Hart has a home in Bethany Beach, the library invited her to Book Talks on the Beach. That group has read a Hart book for the past three summers.

    “They’re a great group, and so I am happy to support them and the library,” Hart said.

    “We just became her unofficial Delaware fan club,” said librarian Cindy Givens. “Some of the books we have read are on the steamy side, but not all books are steamy.”

    Hart said she once saw a T-shirt that said, “Authors are my rock stars.”

    “For people who love to read and love books, that’s really true,” Hart said. “I have had the opportunity to meet authors whose books I loved, and it’s like meeting a rock star, which is really exciting.”

    Meanwhile, she said she loves having the “opportunity to meet people who have read my books and love them, because why would I write books if people didn’t read them?”

    “Most people in this area do like her,” Wackett said, and guests are welcome to bring their own Hart/Garner novels to the Nov. 1 event for a signature.

    “I plan on bringing some goodies for people,” Hart added, such as books, bookmarks and more.

    “I have wanted to be a writer ever since I learned how to write, which was kindergarten,” Hart said. “I didn’t realize people wrote books for a living until I was about 12, … and then I wanted to do it forever.”

    “We just want to thank our community for supporting us. We’ve done some amazing things,” Wackett said. “This past year, this library has just been packed with programing. Thank you to Frankford and the surrounding areas.”

    “They should come out and support the library,” Hart said. “I don’t bite, and I love to meet readers. It sounds like it’s going to be a really great event. Everyone should come out and say hi!”

    All proceeds benefit the library. Tickets cost $25 and include food, beverages and a gift basket drawing. Tickets are expected to sell quickly. Reservations can be made with cash or check at the library. Call the Frankford Public Library at (302) 732-9351 for more information.

    “This is just a great opportunity to have this big-city event in a small town, and I think that it’s just gonna be a great program, sure to sell out,” Wackett said. “We look forward to seeing everyone out for Girls’ Night.”

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    Special to the Coastal Point • Christina Weaver : Lord Baltimore will become a sister school with a school in Nepal that has an art program sponsored by the Shauna Kaufman Foundation. Pictured here are, from left, Amy Kaufman, Durga Sir (on screen), Melissa Kelly and Holly Kaufman in a Namaste pose.Special to the Coastal Point • Christina Weaver : Lord Baltimore will become a sister school with a school in Nepal that has an art program sponsored by the Shauna Kaufman Foundation. Pictured here are, from left, Amy Kaufman, Durga Sir (on screen), Melissa Kelly and Holly Kaufman in a Namaste pose.There is excitement amongst the fourth-graders at Lord Baltimore School in Ocean View. Their school is becoming a sister school with Samata Shiksha Niketan, near Kathmandu, in Nepal. The special focus will be an exchange of art and culture.

    Each of the five fourth-grade classes taught by art teacher Melissa Kelly has been visited by Holly Kaufman and her mom, Amy Kaufman, to present the program and answer questions. Holly was herself a student of Kelly’s at Lord Baltimore about 10 years ago, and she has also taught at Samata.

    Holly started her presentation with the typical Nepali greeting “Namaste,” her hands prayerfully together and with a little bow. She then proceeded to talk to the students in fluent Nepali, just to give them an idea of how the language sounds. They were impressed. Then Holly used slides to tell the children about Nepal and the differences between their schools and daily lives.

    The children at first had difficulty understanding where to find Nepal on a map. Then one remembered that Nepal is where Mount Everest is located and another realized it must be in Asia, and another guessed it was sandwiched between China and India. Nepal is approximately the size of Tennessee. Holly told the students that, because of the high altitude, the Nepalese think their country is at the top of the world.

    Both schools have about the same number of children in the fourth grade, but Samata is larger, because all grades of students attend the same school. All 60 of Samata fourth-graders are in the same classroom, and many times they have to share books.

    Whereas Lord Baltimore is built with brick and mortar, Samata is built with bamboo and mud and has no electricity. Several students in the class thought it was “cool” to hear that the rain sometimes dripped into the classrooms from the ceiling and that snakes have been known to slither in through open doors.

    Nepalese children learn their subjects by rote, copying and remembering everything the teacher writes on the chalkboard. The chalkboard is the only item on the brown walls of the classroom — no pictures or posters or photos — no distractions.

    They don’t learn gym or music or art, and their school week is six days long. Many of the children have to work in the rice fields before the school day starts. Yet, Holly says, the children are happy to be there, getting an education.

    It was the lack of art and opportunity for creativity that had struck the mother-daughter travelers when they first went to Nepal and serendipitously visited Samata. Their journey had been a pilgrimage of sorts, a seeking of meaning, after the tragic death in a car accident, at age 17, of Amy and Ian Kaufman’s eldest daughter, Shauna.

    Shauna was a highly creative person and a gifted artist. The Kaufman family formed a nonprofit organization, the Shauna Rose Kaufman Foundation, with the purpose of “working to make the world a better place through art, equality and education.” By coincidence, Samati means “equality” in English. A collaboration with this school smacks of destiny.

    Since that first visit, funds from the foundation have been used to purchase art supplies and, most important, to pay the salary of an art teacher. Durga “Sir” is “Ms.” Kelly’s counterpart. Durga is only 20 and knew little about art when Amy Kaufman and the school’s principal, Shova, selected him for his enthusiasm and vision.

    Amy and Holly both taught him some basics and gave him art books to help him teach himself. When the children were given their supplies, it was the first time they had ever seen a paint brush.

    Durga’s compensation is $1,200 per year and he is paid monthly.

    “After we saw how well he and the students were doing, we wanted to pay him more,” said Amy Kaufman. “But Principal Shova did not want him to be paid more than her other teachers. She is amazing. She knows all 1,300 of the children’s names and often feeds and houses the neediest at her own home.”

    Kaufman added that Shova is very appreciative of their work and of the money from the foundation, which she knows is donated in small quantities by many Sussex County residents. She is so mindful of the cost of the supplies they went to purchase together with Durga that Amy had to insist that they buy enough pencils so that the students could each have their own.

    Another purchase from the foundation was a cabinet to store all the supplies and artwork the students have completed. Shova’s wish is to eventually have a whole classroom dedicated to the arts.

    The collaboration between the foundation and the school is now in its third year, and the results are extraordinary. Holly and Amy brought many examples of the children’s art work with them to show at Lord Baltimore. Durga had asked his students to draw pictures of their local community for their final exam. Not surprisingly, many of the pictures included glimpses of snow-covered mountain peaks in the distance.

    “What do you think of their pictures?” asked Holly.

    Many hands shot up to express how neatly drawn the pictures are and how they look as though the children spent a lot of time and care on them. One student asked if they could become pen-pals with their sister school classmates. But this idea was nixed by the realization of language barriers and the lack of a reliable postal system in Nepal.

    “Instead of writing, we are going to draw and exchange our pictures,” Kelly explained. “Like them, we will start with showing them how our community looks and the things we like to do. For example, just as we have no mountains in Delaware, there is no ocean in Nepal for the children to experience.”

    After the class, Kelly said she has been delighted with the enthusiastic response from her students.

    “It is a wonderful opportunity to expose them to another culture through art. It also fits perfectly with one of the art standards that are part of the curriculum.”

    To learn more about the art program at Samata and the Shauna Rose Kaufman Foundation, visit

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    The Town of Ocean View held an informational workshop this week on Phase III of the town’s Streetscape improvements project.

    “The more information we can provide to the public, the better informed they are. That’s why we’re having these workshops — to help provide information that they get from other sources,” said Jon Hermes of Century Engineering.

    Hermes said that Century and the Delaware Department of Transportation (DelDOT) will meet with concerned residents impacted by the project on an as-needed basis.

    “We want to work with you. You have a permanent feature in your yard, we don’t want to just blow through it. We want to avoid it, design around it in any way we can,” added Laura Haxton of Century Engineering. “Obviously, within the regulations and standards that we keep, but we want to work with them.”

    The Streetscape Project is part of DelDOT’s Transportation Alternatives Program, established through federal legislation, and is intended to encourage development of a more balanced multi-modal approach to mobility and accessibility.

    The workshop, held on Oct. 14, drew about 10 residents who were able to view informational displays and speak to engineers.

    “The reason they’re doing this is to get input from all the people whose property abuts the streets they’re going to put sidewalks on,” explained Mayor Walter Curran. “Everyone’s a neighbor, and they want to hear from them.”

    The proposed improvements include constructing 5-foot porous concrete sidewalk on Central Avenue between Woodland Avenue and John West Park. A 2-foot grass buffer will also be installed between the sidewalk and curb. The sidewalks constructed will tie into the constructed Phase I sidewalk and the Route 26 Mainline Improvements Project.

    “It’s really going to be great when you can walk the whole town and connect to the Assawoman Canal Trail,” said Haxton.

    The plans for Phase III are expected to be finalized in spring 2015, with construction beginning in spring of 2016.

    Curran said some residents have voiced their concerns over the temporary 7-foot easement the Town must acquire from property owners to install the sidewalks.

    “Nobody is taking anybody’s property. It’s literally a temporary easement to put the sidewalk in,” explained Curran, adding that he hoped the meeting eased residents’ concerns. “I understand the question being raised and their concerns.”

    Curran emphasized that he absolutely supports continuing the Streetscape project, which he said will allow Ocean View to become a more pedestrian-friendly town.

    “Ultimately, it will reach up to the new Assawoman Canal Trail, and we’ll have connectivity. It enhances property values,” he said.

    The Town splits costs of the project with the federal government, under the Federal Transportation Enhancement Program, at an 80/20 split. Each phase may not exceed $1 million.

    “You can’t beat that,” said Curran. “This enhances property values.”

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