Articles on this Page
- 11/05/14--19:57: _Frankford library s...
- 11/05/14--20:05: _Ryan offers talk fo...
- 11/05/14--20:06: _Lions offer vision ...
- 11/05/14--20:07: _Caribbean Christmas...
- 11/05/14--20:08: _‘Images Captured’ e...
- 11/05/14--20:09: _Sussex County kicks...
- 11/05/14--20:09: _SoundFX named magaz...
- 11/05/14--20:10: _Clear Space announc...
- 11/05/14--20:10: _Ovation Dinner Thea...
- 11/05/14--20:16: _Delmarva Brits seek...
- 11/05/14--20:17: _Civil War Profiles:...
- 11/05/14--20:18: _Vietnam Mailbag bri...
- 11/05/14--20:20: _Fenwick may loosen ...
- 11/05/14--20:25: _PRMC’s Delmarva Hea...
- 11/05/14--20:26: _Cocktails Curing Ca...
- 11/05/14--20:27: _Clean your fish, an...
- 11/05/14--20:29: _Kammerer discusses ...
- 11/05/14--20:33: _Fenwick Island offi...
- 11/05/14--20:34: _Korea vet recalls s...
- 11/05/14--20:36: _Surprise South Beth...
- 11/05/14--19:57: Frankford library seeking mystery stocking seamstress
- 11/05/14--20:05: Ryan offers talk focusing on female spymasters during the Civil War
- 11/05/14--20:06: Lions offer vision screening and more to the community
- 11/05/14--20:07: Caribbean Christmas fundraiser set for December 6
- 11/05/14--20:08: ‘Images Captured’ exhibit by Coastal Camera Club opening
- 11/05/14--20:09: Sussex County kicks off annual food drive for Caroling
- 11/05/14--20:09: SoundFX named magazine’s 2014 Retailer of the Year
- 11/05/14--20:10: Clear Space announces auditions for ‘Steel Magnolias’
- 11/05/14--20:10: Ovation Dinner Theatre now showing Mafia Murder Mystery
- 11/05/14--20:16: Delmarva Brits seek new members
- 11/05/14--20:17: Civil War Profiles: The general’s wife: Mary Currey Torbert
- 11/05/14--20:18: Vietnam Mailbag brings old stories to Frankford library
- 11/05/14--20:20: Fenwick may loosen building restrictions for businesses
- 11/05/14--20:25: PRMC’s Delmarva Health Pavilion opens in Millsboro
- 11/05/14--20:26: Cocktails Curing Cancer comes to 14 Global, Nov. 13
- 11/05/14--20:27: Clean your fish, and eat it, too, at Gilled to Grilled events
- 11/05/14--20:29: Kammerer discusses the power of selling at annual conference
- 11/05/14--20:33: Fenwick Island officials begin beach planning for 2015
- 11/05/14--20:34: Korea vet recalls service, and thanks others for theirs
- 11/05/14--20:36: Surprise South Bethany vote returns mandatory freeboard to table
Someone sewed more than 100 Christmas stockings that happen to be the perfect size to donate to Stockings for Soldiers. And several ladies in Frankford are trying to figure out who.
Phyllis Donaway was organizing donations at Frankford Presbyterian Church thrift shop when she discovered two trash bags full of unfinished stockings. Not wanting them to go to waste, she and Susan Molnar hauled the fabric to the Frankford Public Library. Perhaps the children could decorate them at craft time, they thought.
But when someone discovered that these stockings were the same size as Stockings for Soldiers requests for its program, everything changed. The nonprofit sends holiday snacks and gifts to soldiers overseas, all in a large stocking.
“The project just landed at our feet, and we decided to see what we could do with it,” said Librarian Cindy Givens.
They usually knit and crochet, but members of the library Hooks & Needles group divvied up the project, with several women taking home the unfinished stockings and attaching festive cuffs to the top of each. Donaway and Molnar each sewed about 30 of them.
With dozens of patterns, the stockings themselves offer a range of appeal.
“They’re just all different kinds,” Donaway said.
Soldiers will be able to choose from stripes, floral, fish, nautical anchors, Western rodeo and even a few Christmas patterns.
“It’s just fascinating that someone would make all these and donate them. It’s a mystery to us,” Molnar said.
The library had collected soldier gifts earlier this fall. But it just happened that when the size of the found stockings was noticed, a rare visitor (Ruth Ann Marvel) was attending Hooks & Needles. She contacted her friend at Stockings for Soldiers, which had already gotten enough of everything for this year’s program — everything except stockings, that is.
“It’s a lot of coincidences,” Donaway said.
The Frankford Public Library got an extension to finish sewing the stockings for the program, and the stocking count hovered at 120 in late October.
“We would love to find out who made them, give him or her the credit,” Givens said.
“We would love to honor the person who made them, particularly if the person is deceased,” Molnar added.
Even if the mystery seamstress or seamstresses) simply got tired of the project, they dedicated hours of work to the cause, the two noted. Although only 30 cuffs had been attached, someone still cut out, sewed and attached ribbons to more than 100 stockings. The Frankford ladies lost count of their own hours at the sewing machine.
“I don’t know — it wouldn’t matter,” Molnar said. “We enjoy doing this, and we’re so happy it’s going to a good cause.”
Hooks & Needles typically meets on Tuesdays at 1 p.m. It and other sewing groups are free and open to anyone.
Anyone with leads on the stocking mystery can contact Cindy at the Frankford Public Library by calling (302) 732-9351.
“Let’s go back in history,” is a phrase Tom Ryan often says at the beginning of his presentations about the Civil War.
The local Civil War enthusiast and author Ryan will soon present, “Women Spies during the Civil War: Elizabeth Van Lew and Rose O’Neal Greenhow,” hosted by the Bethany Beach Cultural and Historical Affairs Committee. He will be joined by two reenactors, portraying Lew and Greenhow, who will be dressed in period garb and speak briefly about their lives.
“I introduce each one of them separately and then they talk to the audience separately about who they are and what they did,” explained Ryan.
The program will be held on Thursday, Nov. 13, at Bethany Beach Town Hall, beginning at 7 p.m. Light refreshments will be served. The talk, which lasts approximately an hour, will be done with the help of a PowerPoint presentation and feature many photographs and illustrations.
“These two women were not only spies, but spymasters,” said Ryan. “They were the head of a spy ring. They had people working for them — men, women, young girls because they needed a variety of people not only collecting information, but delivering information.”
Ryan said one story he will discuss is how Greenhow, a Washingtonian, was supplying information to a general in Manassas, Va.
“She had to have couriers,” explained Ryan. “One of them was a 16-year-old girl who dressed up as a farm girl and rode in a horse and wagon and got through the sentries — because at that time you couldn’t go back and forth without going through the guards.
“She would blink her eyes, smile at the young boys who were guarding and would get through.”
Greenhow, Ryan said, had a knitted pouch that she would put messages in.
“She would roll it up in the back of her hair, and inside the hair was the pouch,” he explained. “That’s how she would taken it to the Confederate military outposts.”
In the past, Ryan has given presentations on presidents’ wives Mary Lincoln and Varina Davis, and generals’ wives, Mary Lee and Julia Grant.
Ryan spent 35 years working for the Department of Defense in intelligence operations, and thought this discussion on female spies would be a great follow-up presentation.
“It just seemed natural to gravitate to women spies,” he said. “Especially in recent years, there’s been a lot more scholarship about women during the Civil War.”
Often Ryan speaks to area historical and social clubs in the area, almost always to a full house.
“Anything about spies is popular,” said Ryan. “Of course, the Civil War itself is a pretty popular topic. I think the audience comes from a variety of people who are active in organizations, well to read or to learn. There are educational-type groups too.”
Ryan’s interest in the Civil War started while he was still working in intelligence, after attended class at the Army War College, where they spent the day at Gettysburg.
“They explained all the strategy and tactics that the commanders went through in the fighting over the three days. I found it pretty fascinating. I started reading more about the Civil War and traveled extensively all over the country to almost every battlefield I could find.”
He has previously been published in the Washington Times and Civil War magazine. He is the former president of the Central Delaware Civil War Round Table in Dover, and a member of the Delaware Historical Society, Fort Delaware Society, Civil War Trust and Gettysburg Foundation.
Ryan said he hopes many members of the community will be able to attend the talk and learn something new about the Civil War, and the important role women played.
“I think it will show that women had an important role. They certainly did in many respects, but for the most part, women’s roles were behind the scenes as nurses and other support roles. Organizations that visited camps to help provide for the needs of the soldiers. Not a lot of recognition was given for all those different roles.
“As a spy, you’re directly involved in the military aspects of the war. It’s a key role, a crucial role, and women had an advantage in those days.”
His latest book, “Spies, Scouts and Secrets in the Gettysburg Campaign,” is scheduled to publication later this year by Savas Beatie. Ryan had previously published “Essays on Delaware During the Civil War: A Political, Military and Social Perspective,” is available at Bethany Beach Books or from www.tomryan-civilwar.com. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Fenwick Lions Club provided vision screenings to over 300 children at Georgetown Elementary School last month.
Screenings took place over three days, after children were sent home with permission slips to allow for the screenings. Then using the Spot Vision Screener, the children are given a complete screening for everything including myopia and stigmatisms. Children are also given a titmus test, measuring their depth perception.
Lion Carol Miles said that the Lions Club has been doing screenings in the county of daycare, preschool, head start and elementary school children for approximately 10 years, and that their work has been reinforced by doctors.
“When kids went to the eye doctor, they thought that, yes, they did need corrections,” said Miles. “We have confidence in the device.”
Miles stressed that any information gathered from the screenings about a child’s vision is not kept by the club, but passed on to the school nurse.
“We do keep all the information about the number of kids we screened and the results we got — how many passed, and how many were referred,” she explained.
Following their screening, each child is sent home with an envelope that includes a flyer in English and Spanish, stating that the child either passed the vision test or being referred to a doctor.
“Sometimes we have difficulties with the language barrier,” said Miles, adding they try to do the screenings at the beginning of the year to catch any issues early on.
Miles said the school nurse is then supposed to check on those children who were referred to see if the parents have followed through or if there’s a problem financially.
“If there is, if a family’s in need, there’s some paperwork they need to fill out. The Lions Club pays for the doctor visits and the glasses for children who need it. The Lions are committed — we feel kids who can’t see properly, can’t really learn properly,” she said.
The Spot Vision Screener is shared with other three other clubs — Laurel, Millsboro, and Lord Baltimore.
“We certainly could never do this alone,” said Jim Miles, Carol’s husband, and fellow Lion. “We didn’t buy this device alone. It’s very expensive. The Lions Foundation paid for half of the device.”
Vision has been a mission of the Lions Club since Helen Keller spoke to the club.
“In 1925, Helen Keller came as a guest of the Lions Club. She asked the Lions to become knights of the blind, and they’ve been doing it since,” said Jim Miles.
Today, throughout the world, Lions are helping those in need — from treating river blindness in third world countries to collecting used prescription glasses to be distributed.
“All the glasses they collect, they take all of those glasses and give them to prisoners. They have a special machine that reads the prescriptions on the lenses. Those glasses are then taken and put in big cases of all the same prescriptions. They’re taken into third world countries and given out free to people who need them.”
Although vision is a big part of the Lions Club, they are also working to create a younger generation of volunteers working to better their community.
In the early aughts, the Mileses, retired teachers from Pennsylvania were asked to help start a Leo Club, focusing on leadership, experience, and opportunity, at Indian River High School.
“The president of our club asked us if we would try to get involved with the Leo Club at the high school. We went over and talked to Mr. Steele and he said, ‘anything for the kids.’ But we couldn’t have any class time. We went over at lunchtime and talked to each of the lunches about getting started.
“We got started with 22 kids. This year we have 135, and they’re all really, really good kids.”
The Indian River Leos do a variety of community activities including grass planting on the beach, beach cleanups, make presents for Meals on Wheels recipients for Thanksgiving and Christmas, and more.
“Last year they collected over 1,000 books for one of the elementary schools, and they go over and read to them. They went up to the Ronald McDonald House and donated items there,” added Miles.
The students also work with the Lions on their projects, at their fundraising breakfasts and spaghetti dinners, and Christmas party for the blind.
“I believe kids want to do something,” said Jim Miles. They just have to have a way of doing it — that’s what the Leos are. It’s fun.”
Last year, the club awarded $10,000 to Indian River students in scholarships.
In September, the Leos held the 3rd Annual Bash at the Beach at Camp Barnes, where all the Leo Clubs in Delaware and eastern shore Leo Clubs in Maryland were invited to participate.
“The object of it is to show them how to work together to achieve a result,” explained Jim Miles. “How to trust one another, that sort of thing.”
Miles said that the club is constantly looking for new members, who are looking to help better their community and the world.
“We are so anxious for new members. We’re trying all the time to recruit new members. It takes just having interest,” he said.
Carol Miles said that she and her husband heard about the club from a neighbor. Carol Miles said that when Lions Clubs International instituted the Lioness
Bridge Program in 1996, allowing Lionesses to become full-fledged Lions, she too decide to join.
“The women really joined hardily,” she said. “I enjoy giving back and seeing the results that you actually help.”
Jim Miles said that anyone interested in joining the club must simply fill out a form and attend a meeting.
“Go to a meeting and become interested in it. We certainly need all of the ones we can get,” he said. Adding, “We’ll be having meetings in the evening as well as afternoon to reach more people... We’re looking for new blood all the time.”
Miles said that the Fenwick Island Lions Club has approximately 60 members who all enjoy volunteerism.
“It’s very, very rewarding to go out and give back,” he said. “Especially working with children.”
The Quiet Resorts Charitable Foundation (QRCF) announced this week that the 10th annual Caribbean Christmas will be held Saturday, Dec. 6, from 7 to 11 p.m. at Mango’s, located at Garfield Parkway and the boardwalk in downtown Bethany Beach.
The traditionally sold-out fundraising event features tastings from area restaurants, beer, wine and Mangoritas, live music, silent auctions, raffles, dancing and holiday cheer.
“Caribbean Christmas is a festive way to kick off the holidays. It is a great event which embraces the giving spirit of the season with the style of beach living. It is the perfect pairing of party and philanthropy!” said Board President Steve Alexander.
Proceeds from Caribbean Christmas benefit local organizations each year. In the QRCF’s 13-year history, more than $150,000 has been contributed to other charities. This year, QRCF has selected the South Coastal, Frankford, and Selbyville libraries.
“Anything that helps the library directly helps the community.” said Susanne Keefe, director of the South Coastal Library.
“Each library knows how our gift will be best used, and I imagine that our contribution will be used to purchase more books, CD audiobooks, MP3s, Playaways, DVDs and music CDs, and other audio-visual materials for their collections. All our neighbors and community members benefit from our top-notch libraries, so these are ideal recipients for the QRCF grant,” said Alexander.
Tickets cost $60 per person. QRCF is a 501(c) organization and the purchase may be tax-deductible. Tickets may be purchased at Beach Liquors in Bethany, Beach Liquors in Fenwick, Bethany Beach Books, Bethany-Fenwick Chamber of Commerce, Cottage Café, DiFebo’s, Mango’s, Sedona and South Coastal Library.
The QRCF is currently seeking sponsors, donors and volunteers. Event sponsorships are available at a variety of levels. Donations of goods or services are also welcome.
“Sponsoring and donating are great ways to build a business’s exposure and support the laudable beneficiaries. We invite individuals and groups to volunteer before, during and after the event, and will accommodate any interest and ability,” Alexander noted.
Dr. Jonathan Patterson and Kristin Patterson are hosting a reception and photography art exhibit featuring works by members of the Coastal Camera Club in their gallery at Ocean Medical Imaging, located in the Milton Medical Park, 611 Federal Street, Suite 4, Milton.
The exhibit, titled “Images Captured,” will be on display from Nov. 7 through January 2015. There will be an artist’s reception on Nov. 14 from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.
Coastal Camera Club President George Evancho said, “The Coastal Camera Club is very excited to once again partner with Ocean Medical Imaging on our second photography exhibit, ‘Images Captured.’ The exhibit … will feature photographs by some of the club’s best photographers. We are very appreciative of Ocean Medical Imaging hosting the exhibit and, in particular, of Dr. Jonathan Patterson and Kristin Patterson’s support of photographic artwork in the community.”
Coastal Camera Club photographers will be present during the opening reception, where refreshments will be served and notecards, matted photographs and the artwork will be on sale. A portion of the proceeds from sales made on the day of the reception will be donated to Help Portrait, where photographers give back to the community by providing free portraits to families in need.
This year’s 5th Annual Help Portrait will be held on Dec. 6, at Delaware Technical Community College in Georgetown. More information can be found on the Help-Portrait: Southern Delaware Facebook group.
The exhibit at Ocean Medical Imaging is the most recent area show featuring members of the Coastal Camera Club who enjoy sharing their artwork. The Coastal Camera Club is dedicated to promoting an interest in photography and enhancing the skills of members through learning and sharing of photographic knowledge and experiences.
Guests are always welcome to visit club meetings and competitions. Programs featuring speakers are held on the second Wednesday of each month, and competitions are held on the fourth Wednesday. For further information, go to www.coastalcameraclub.com.
Warm up the vocal chords and grab a canned good or two — it’s almost time for carols in the air and hope in the hearts across Sussex County.
Sussex County government is kicking off its yearly food drive for the community’s less fortunate and will celebrate the effort during the 31st annual Caroling on The Circle event, set for 6:30 p.m. Monday, Dec. 8, in downtown Georgetown. The food drive will extend throughout November and December.
Each year, the community singing event doubles as a food drive for hungry families in Sussex County, drawing hundreds of residents — along with the support of area schools, businesses and civic organizations — who turn out to sing Christmas carols and collect canned goods for area pantries, churches and food banks.
In 2013, the food drive collected nearly 28,000 items for nearly a dozen organizations. Sussex County organizers are hopeful to collect just as many items this year, and are encouraging the public to do their part now to “Pack the POD” — a 14-foot by 7-foot portable storage shed that will be set up at The Circle — with food items for local food pantries.
County Administrator Todd F. Lawson said Caroling on The Circle is a great way to get into the holiday spirit, but it’s important to remember the event’s true purpose.
“This is one of those uniquely Sussex County traditions, one that produces real results,” Lawson said, noting that the Caroling on The Circle event over the years has raised nearly 650,000 items for local food pantries. “Giving is the theme this time of year, and Sussex Countians have shown year after year how much giving they have in their hearts. It gives me a lot of pride to see how much this community comes through each year to make a difference, and we know this year will be no different. ”
As always, the historic Sussex County Courthouse and picturesque Circle will serve as the backdrop for an evening of traditional and Spanish carols, as well as a visit from Santa Claus. WBOC-TV personality Jimmy Hoppa will host the event, which will feature local singing artists Ed Shockley, Kevin Short and The Reminders. Also joining in the performances will be the Georgetown Middle and Sussex Central High choirs and the El Centro Cultural group.
Following the festivities, free cookies and hot chocolate will be available for all to enjoy at the Georgetown Fire Company, one block south of The Circle. The event is free to attend. Participants only have to bring non-perishable food items for donation.
Food items will be collected that night, but donations can be dropped off from now until the end of December, from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday at the County Administrative Offices building, next to the courthouse, in Georgetown. Donations also can be made at the County Administrative Offices West Complex, U.S. 113, in Georgetown, and at the Sussex County Airport terminal building on Rudder Lane, just east of Georgetown.
Caroling on The Circle will be held regardless of weather. In the event of rain or snow, it will be moved inside the fire hall on South Bedford Street. For more information, call (302) 855-7700.
SoundFX in Lewes, Del., is the recipient of the 2014 Retailer of the Year — Single Store Award presented by Mobile Electronics magazine. Co-owner Brian Layton received the award at a special ceremony in August during the annual KnowledgeFest tradeshow in Dallas.
Boasting a staff of 25 people, SoundFX is Delaware’s premier designer and integrator of in-vehicle entertainment and information systems, home theater and media rooms, and security and convenience products for the home, office and vehicle. Co-owners Layton and Mike Wright lead the team, as well as interface with current and prospective clients.
The Retailer of the Year Award recognizes the country’s premier retail mobile electronics store. Winners continually demonstrate a dedication to providing courteous, knowledgeable, professional service and expertise which results in long-term customers and business growth. As the 2014 award recipient, SoundFX will also be presented by Mobile Electronics as the standard to which other retail stores should model their business and practices.
“We are honored to receive this award, and thank our peers and friends in the industry who voted for us,” said Layton. “In addition, we would like to thank our clients for their part in the voting process. This is an exciting time for us. Our team has been receiving numerous congratulatory remarks from family, friends, clients, and our car dealership partners. We are blessed to have the best clients in the world. We would not be in this position if it weren’t for their continued trust.”
Layton and key members of his staff traveled to Dallas to attend KnowledgeFest 2014, an annual event that presents business education and technical instruction for owners and employees of mobile electronics stores.
The three-day educational seminar and tradeshow culminates in the annual Industry Awards, a night of celebration that recognizes the best retailers, vendors and technicians in the industry. The Industry Awards are presented by Mobile Electronics magazine, a trade publication that provides news, business tips and peer advice to mobile electronics professionals.
The Retailer of the Year award starts with a self-nomination process in which the store submits a video presentation on why it is deserving of the award. The submissions are narrowed to 50 retailers who receive the interim “Top 50 Retailers” award. Members of the industry as well as store customers then vote to narrow the list down to 12 finalists — who also receive “Top 12 Retailers” honors — over a month-long voting period. The Top 12 then submit more detailed information and video submissions, which are judged by a panel comprising editorial staff and objective industry professionals.
“The Industry Awards winners are decided in large part by members of the industry,” said Solomon Daniels, editor-in-chief of Mobile Electronics magazine and presenter of the awards. Daniels was also one of the award’s quartet of judges.
“That said, SoundFX is the type of store and Brian is the type of owner you want to have win an award like this. The most important factor is that the store and its staff represent our industry in a positive, professional light. After reviewing his judging submission, it was not only evident that SoundFX exceeded this requirement, but that the store really wanted to win. In our minds, that’s the perfect combination.”
About SoundFX Founded in 1992, SoundFX has provided Delaware and the Delmarva Eastern Shore area with years of courteous service and top-quality products. The company takes pride in the ability to design and install great-sounding and easy-to-use systems for its clients. Voted “Best of Delaware” by the readers of Delaware Today magazine, and most recently “Retailer of the Year” by Mobile Electronics magazine, SoundFX’s success derives from great relationships with its clients and industry.
For more information, call (800) 454-AUDIO or visit sound-fx.net.
The Clear Space Theatre Company of Rehoboth Beach has announced auditions for their first production of 2015, “Steel Magnolias.”
The play focuses on the lives, loves and losses of six women who talk, gossip, needle and harangue each other through the best of times — and comfort and repair one another through the worst. The action centers on Truvy’s Beauty Parlor, in Chiquapin Parish, La. — where the women are delicate as magnolias and strong as steel.
Auditions for the show are Wednesday, Nov. 19, at 6 p.m., and actors are being encouraged to arrive promptly. The six women in the show range in age from 19 to 66. Those who wish to audition are being asked to prepare a 90-second monologue and be prepared to read from the script — preferably with a Louisiana accent.
Steel Magnolias opens Feb. 6 and plays weekends through Feb. 22. The Clear Space production will be directed by David Button. For more information, contact the box office at (302) 227-2270.
Ovation Dinner Theatre is spicing up local restaurants with “Mafia Murder Mystery,” offering patrons dinner and a show with their interactive “whodunit” production.
“It’s a lot more energy than your typical production,” said co-owner Lenne Sirasky. “The entire audience is involved to some degree. They are incorporated in the play, and the audience is intrigued by their character. It all leads to the audience patrons trying to guess who did it.”
With live performance dinners at local area restaurants that can seat more than 100 people, Sirasky said that it’s usually around 10 to 12 patrons who get to participate in more substantial roles, along with the cast of about six to eight actors. “They get a short script, costume and props,” Sirasky explained.
The patrons selected for the roles are all suspects in the murder during the show.
“It’s based on a godfather of an Italian family who is mysteriously murdered, and the suspects in the murder are 12 audience patrons,” explained Sirasky.
The show has been making its way throughout the area, and even features local actors. But Sirasky noted that the production does venture into Ocean City and Ocean Pines, Md., and people come from as far as Wilmington and Cambridge, Md., to see it.
“What [co-owner] Carreen Kouts and I have developed is kind of a touring platform we are taking our murder mystery productions to the Delmarva area,” he said.
Despite the success and positive response so far, Ovation is still always looking to add talented actors and Sirasky encouraged anyone interested in trying out for the show to do so.
While Mafia Murders Mystery is currently the only show being offered, for the holidays Sirasky and Kouts will also be showing “Dial ‘S’ For Santa.” The limited-time production is a murder mystery comedy geared toward the holiday season, where audience members will try and figure out who kidnapped Santa Claus from the “Slanger Outlets,” and be able to enjoy and participate in holiday carols.
The next scheduled performance of Mafia Murders Mystery is Saturday, Nov. 8, at 6 p.m. at The Den at Bear Trap Dunes. The same production will be featured at Lighthouse Sound in Bishopville, Md., on Thursday, Nov. 13, at 5 p.m., and at Claddagh on the Shore in Fenwick Island on Tuesday, Nov. 18, at 5 p.m.
For a full schedule of productions or more information on joining the cast, contact Ovation Dinner Theatre at (302) 500-1528 or online at www.ovationdinnertheatre.com, or find Ovation Dinner Theatre on Facebook at www.facebook.com/ovationdinnertheatre.
Calling all local Brits — Delmarva Brits wants you! An online group has formed on the Internet site Meetup that, according to its website, helps “groups of people with shared interests plan meetings and form offline clubs in local communities around the world.”
“I think a lot of British people get homesick once in a while, regardless of how long they have been here or how settled they are,” said Martin Loughlin, who formed the group in July. “I know I do. I always enjoy talking to other Brits about British food, TV, things we miss.
“Of course, the Meetup group is a good way to make new friends too, especially for those who have just moved here and may not know anyone. I also see it as a way to exchange useful information, perhaps someone else knows where there is a great Irish restaurant, or a store where you can buy food and drink from the UK, or will share their recipe for sausage rolls!”
Loughlin, who is originally from Manchester, England, has been living in the United States since 1991. Recently, he and his wife moved from New Jersey to Harrington.
Through the meet-ups, Brits from around the peninsula can enjoy a variety of activities together. In the past, group members have met to eat a meal at a British-style fish-and-chip shop in Rehoboth Beach, enjoyed a wine tasting and listened to a band perform classic British hits of the ’60s.
“I try to choose activities that I would like to do, and at the same time I feel would appeal to others. I try to have activities that have a British theme some of the time, although that isn’t a requirement,” he explained. “Other members are free to suggest activities — in fact, I would love for them to do that — and the point is not necessarily to come up with an activity or event that all the members are interested in, just something that at least one other person would like to do.
“Not everyone is interested in the same thing,” he added, “and it would be great if someone else suggested something they find interesting and some other members joined in. I also try to choose activities based on the location being convenient for other members, although of course that isn’t always possible.”
Enjoying the company of fellow Brits can be comforting while living away from one’s native country, said Loughlin.
“There is something very nice about getting together with fellow Brits, even if you have been here a while and have friends and family. The atmosphere is usually lively and the members I have met so far have all been friendly and easy to get along with.
“I think there is a good sense of camaraderie at the meetings and events,” he said, “and everybody gets something out of it. I think getting together with a few other people who also speak in a strange accent helps to reduce that feeling of being homesick which we all have sometimes.”
Delmarva Brits has about 15 members currently, and they range in age.
“I would say that the members at the moment, most of us are in our 40s or 50s, although some may be younger,” he said. “And we have a member in his 70s. There is no age requirement, and anyone living on the Delmarva Peninsula and from the UK can join regardless of age.”
Loughlin said Delmarva Brits is a great way to connect with other Brits in the area, and he hopes more members will join.
“I would love to see the club grow to maybe 100 members or more,” he said, noting that membership is also open to anyone whose spouse/significant other is from the UK. “Currently, we have members living in Rehoboth Beach, Dover, Harrington, Salisbury, Millsboro, Wilmington, the Eastern Shore of Maryland.
“Please, if you join — get involved! Go to an event that has been posted on the site or, better still, organize and host one yourself. Suggestions for events and activities are always welcome.”
Alfred T.A. Torbert resigned from the United States army in 1866 after serving with distinction, including the four years of the Civil War. He held the rank of brevet major general of volunteers until the end of the war in 1865. The citizen of Delaware, born and bred in Georgetown, soon married Mary Elizabeth Currey of Milford.
Although raised by his mother as a Southern gentleman, Torbert had chosen to fight for the North during the Civil War. Mary had an uncle, Truston Polk, and a distant cousin, Leonidas K. Polk, who served in the Confederate army. Her loyalties, however, apparently remained with the North.
A.D. Slade’s biography of Alfred Torbert, “Southern Gentleman in Union Blue,” describes Mary’s background as the daughter of Daniel Currey, a prominent Sussex County businessman. He owned a variety of enterprises, including a grist mill, commercial real estate and a number of large farms. Daniel’s wife, Mary Polk, was related to President James K. Polk, and her brother had served both as Missouri’s governor and senator.
Their daughter Mary was well-educated, having attended an Episcopal seminary, St. Mary’s Hall in Burlington, N.J., with a demanding curriculum, including science and mathematics. Mary became fluent in French, and gave an oration in that language at graduation.
Alfred and Mary’s marriage took place at Christ Church in Milford with Alfred’s military friends, Maj. Gen. George G. Meade, Maj. Gen. James Harrison Wilson and Maj. Gen. Alexander Stuart Webb in attendance. Alfred was 32 and Mary 26.
With both of her parents having since passed away, the newly-married couple moved into the stately family home on the corner of North Walnut and N.W. Second Streets in Milford. Torbert had married well given Mary’s inheritance, and he pursued the life of a gentleman farmer.
The couple settled into the Milford community, with Alfred serving a term as city council president. Her alma mater also elected him to the board of trustees of St. Mary’s Hall, which pleased both he and Mary.
When Ulysses S. Grant was elected president of the United States in 1869, Torbert solicited a diplomatic appointment from his former friend and fellow general in the Union army. He brought Grant’s attention to the fact that no one from the state of Delaware had received a Foreign Service assignment from his administration.
Grant approved an appointment of Torbert to El Salvador, and then later to Havana, Cuba. It is not clear whether Mary accompanied him to El Salvador; however, she did serve as his hostess in Havana.
In 1873, the Torberts would be off to Paris after his appointment as consul general, an assignment that Mary was particularly happy about. It was the fashion capital of the world at the time, and she was a fashionable lady who spoke fluent French. They took up residence at No. 3, Rue Scribe.
Mary and Alfred entertained lavishly in Paris, undoubtedly employing funds from her inheritance. Another Civil War colleague, Maj. Gen. Daniel Sickles, who at the time was Consul to Spain, was quoted as saying, “never in the history of the Consul of Paris has its hospitality been better illustrated than during the time the General and Mrs. Torbert fulfilled it.”
After the new president, Rutherford B. Hayes, replace Torbert with a new consul in Paris, Mary and Alfred sailed from Le Havre for New York on the steamer, Labrador, and returned to Milford. The local ladies were reportedly “amazed by Mary’s elegant furniture, her fashionable Fromentin paintings, and her chic Worth gowns.”
Torbert was soon off on another adventure in August 1880, this time to Mexico at the behest of Grant, who was now a businessman, to negotiate railroad construction rights. Unfortunately, the steamship City of Vera Cruz encountered a hurricane off the coast of Florida.
Although he tried to calm and help the passengers, Torbert was swept from a raft and drowned. His body washed up on the coast near Cape Canaveral. For his heroics aboard the sinking ship, he became a national hero. He was brought to New York where he lay in state for people and dignitaries to view the body.
Eventually Alfred was brought back to Milford for burial, and Mary could not be consoled during the funeral. She twice threw herself on his grave.
Mary Currey Torbert chose to remain a widow, and lived until 1895. She is remembered with pride by the citizens of Milford. She lies beside her beloved husband Alfred beneath an impressive granite obelisk at the Methodist Cemetery on North Street in Milford.
Bethany Beach resident Thomas J. Ryan is the author of “Essays on Delaware during the Civil War” (available at Bethany Beach Books). Contact him at email@example.com, or visit his website www.tomryan-civilwar.com.
Lynch to share letters from her popular column
Where would a journalist be without her source? During the Vietnam War, American troops sent Nancy E. Lynch nearly 1,000 letters and hundreds of photos from overseas, which she published in her popular column, Nancy’s Vietnam Mailbag.
This week, Lynch and Vietnam veteran Rick Lovekin team up for the “Vietnam Mailbag” program Nov. 10 at 6 p.m. at Frankford Public Library.
After arguably America’s most unpopular war, Lynch wrote the book “Vietnam Mailbag: Voices From The War, 1968-1972.”
She will read selected correspondence from servicemen featured in her 456-page history book.
“It’s Veterans Day. It’s obviously keeping alive the memory of spirit of sacrifice that the troops have given to us,” said Rachel Wackett, library director.
After wrapping up her five-year column in 1972, Lynch promised “her guys” that she would someday write a book to honor and preserve their stories. Published in 2008, the novel earned Independent Publisher’s 2009 gold medal for Best Non-Fiction in the Mid-Atlantic states.
Today, Lynch lives in Bethel.
“I’ve met her,” Wackett said. “She’s sharp and funny... but it still has deep personal significance for her.”
Lovekin will share some of his own combat experiences, some of which he originally described in regular letters to Lynch. He always signed his letters, “Your Man in Nam.”
With a medical disability, Lovekin could have avoided service in Vietnam, but enlisted in the U.S. Army and spent a year in combat as a door gunner on a Huey helicopter, and later as a Cobra chopper crew chief.
The multimedia program also includes old photos and music of the era.
Frankford Public Library is located at 8 Main Street. The program is supported by a Delaware Humanities Forum grant.
Despite a seeming lack of building now, Fenwick Island’s Charter and Code Committee is brainstorming new business footprints for the future.
After Town Council recently rejected changes to commercial setbacks, it was back to the drawing board on Nov 3, with the concept of placing businesses right next to the road, with parking in the rear.
This discussion began with the Fenwick Island Comprehensive Plan, which recommends changes to pedestrian safety, bicycle safety and sidewalks, especially in a town with so many strip malls.
That means a proposed 15-foot setback from the property line, with some low landscaping between the building and sidewalk. That puts buildings 10 feet closer to the highway. The rear setback would remain at 10 feet, but include 5 feet of landscape buffer.
“Most of Fenwick is 80, 85, 90 percent built,” said Diane Tingle. “I don’t see... people tearing things down and building new.”
Sooner or later, someone might, Weistling said.
For instance, Libby’s restaurant was torn down and had a potential buyer who wanted apartments over a business. Between that and the requested setbacks, Fenwick Island didn’t accept his proposal.
“I’m with Diane [Tingle],” said Roy Williams. “It’s probably not gonna happen in my lifetime. But I think you need to have something in place... guidelines to let everybody know.”
“All you’re doing is giving the option to build their building closer if that’s what they wanna do, or to the back if they want,” said Town Manager Merritt Burke.
When he served on the Comprehensive Plan Committee, resident and architect Phil Craig said, “If you went through Fenwick, the highway was the main thing, the town was peripheral. If you drive through Dewey Beach, you’re drawn to the buildings, pedestrians on the sidewalk.”
He said it slows drivers down.
Besides making the town more attractive, the committee does not want to decrease parking.
“The biggest problem we’ve heard is parking. If somebody comes in here with a successful business, they’re never gonna have enough room,” for summertime parking, Weistling said.
There’s plenty of parking on western side streets, Burke clarified, but no one wants to walk that far to a restaurant.
Charter & Code seeks public input for what best fits the town. The public, businesses and others are welcome to share what they want in the layout of business properties. They also intend to ask several developers why they chose not to buy and backed out of their building plans.
In a few months, Landmark Engineering will lead a workshop, using a computer program to mock-up various options.
“We can visualize a building’s footprint and various setbacks,” Burke said. “I think it’s going to be a great workshop so everybody can visualize what we’re discussing.”
Freeboard off the table, for now
Although DNREC recommends 12 to 18 inches of freeboard on houses, the Charter & Code Committee said this is a discussion for another day.
Freeboard is the amount of space between the ground and the house bottom, meant to reduce flood damage from rising waters.
Langan and Tingle suggested two feet of mandatory freeboard.
But currently, houses are 30 feet to the roof peak, said building official, Patricia Schuchman.
“If it affects height, I have problem because... [height limit has] been in place. I hate to see it messed with,” Mike Quinn said.
Although Weistling prefers 18 inches of freeboard (which still gives homeowners the insurance credit worth 2 feet), he wouldn’t let the controversy delay the entire floodplain ordinance.
“When we go to vote, it’s very important we get this passed. This whole ordinance could be voted [down] because of freeboard,” Weistling said. “I recommend we return later to discussion of height and freeboard.”
Resident Craig warned the committee not to do this piecemeal, but the committee agreed to continue the discussion later.
On the State’s recommendation, the committee agreed to consider a new drainage ordinance.
The plan is voluntary now, but may eventually be state-mandated, Burke said.
“You can’t blame them because of the $65 million it’s cost the taxpayers,” said Burke, reporting that few towns pay the full price of chronic drainage issues, which has cost the state that much since 1996.
Although this targets the unincorporated zones with few drainage standards, Fenwick has room for improvement, he added.
The committee will consider definitions, drainage obstructions, construction requirements, compliance and more.
Bonfire parking permits
For bonfire nights, the committee will approach Town Council with the idea of allowing up to five parking permits for bonfire organizers. These one-night passes will be issued for free, with the purchase of a bonfire permit. They allow parking from 5 p.m. to midnight on the ocean-side.
Currently, cars are allowed to park long enough to unload firewood, but must move immediately. When beach-front parking is done correctly, ten cars should typically fit.
Despite discussion of opening eastern side streets up to free parking for the public or just for Fenwick employees, the committee ultimately decided against it.
Williams had safety concerns for public parking after dark. Police Chief Boyden didn’t see a problem with enforcement, although the most common issue is people parked after midnight.
Craig felt that businesses would shift all their employees to the residential streets, to make room for customers, when “restaurants should be supplying employee parking.” That could produce much traffic and noise.
Burke said 130 bayside parking spots are already mostly unused.
Plus councilmember Diane Tingle said residents must purchase parking passes, and out-of-towners could swarm Fenwick.
Although Boyden said dusk is primetime for surfers and photographers, it doesn’t necessarily flood the beach.
Charter & Code Committee meets again Dec. 2 at 9:30 a.m.
Peninsula Regional Medical Center (PRMC) officially cut the ribbon on its new Delmarva Health Pavilion in Millsboro on Oct. 22.
“What a privilege it is to stand here during this grand opening of our magnificent grand opening,” said Dr. Peggy Naleppa, president and CEO.
Officials in attendance included Millsboro Mayor Robert Bryan, state Rep. John Atkins and Sussex County Council President Michael Vincent.
“I’m not able to express how much the Millsboro Town Council and staff appreciates this Delmarva Health Pavilion coming to Millsboro. It means so much to residents and the residents of our neighboring communities,” Bryan said.
The groundbreaking for the facility took place on Oct. 9, 2012, a little more than two years before the opening of the facility. The health pavilion features Peninsula Regional Family Medicine, Peninsula Orthopedic Associates, NRH Regional Rehab, Peninsula Imaging and more.
“We’re glad to be a part of the evolving healthcare system that brings care closer to home in the communities that we serve. Across the nation, no longer can you just build a hospital and expect people to come for your every ache and pain. We know we need to provide services for you to walk in to that are close to home.”
The facility still has room to grow, however, as there are a number of offices still available for lease.
“This is only the beginning,” said Bryan, “with many more services and physicians to be added in the coming months. With so many retirees and young families in our area, there’s no question in my mind that we’re cutting the ribbon today on what is soon to be one of the most successful ventures to ever open in Millsboro.”
Naleppa said PRMC has been serving the community’s health care needs for 117 years and has a tremendous legacy in the community.
“This certainly is an outstanding achievement for us and a huge step forward in advancing healthcare services.”
Bryan said he and the council welcome the facility, noting their excitement to be able to house such a facility in their town.
“Every community wants to be able to say they have a medical facility. Now Millsboro can honestly say we have the best around… It was well worth the wait.”
The Delmarva Health Pavilion is located at 30265 Commerce Drive in Millsboro.
Happy hour is on a mission at the first Cocktails Curing Cancer event in Bethany Beach.
Started in Burlington, Vt., Cocktails Curing Cancer is a non-profit helping in the fight against cancer, one cocktail at a time. The Nov. 13 event comes to 14 Global from 6 to 8:30 p.m.
“Everybody tends to love cocktails,” said organizer Lisa Condon, so it’s a win “when you can combine something that people do anyway socially and provide support locally for an organization,” she said. “And every single dollar goes to the organization.”
Bethany’s CCC will always benefit Beebe Healthcare’s Tunnell Cancer Center. Condon was impressed by the Tunnell mission to find a cure, plus provide hope for patients and for families.
“I talked to a lot of people, and Beebe’s Tunnell Cancer Center is amazing,” Condon said. “The fact that they are here in Sussex County is so important, and everybody that I’ve talked to locally... the experience that they’ve had there is top-notch.”
“We at Beebe are thrilled to have this great new partnership with Cocktails Curing Cancer. It is always a huge success when monies raised benefit our patients and families in Sussex County, where people like to give where they live,” said Thomas Protack, director of Beebe Medical Foundation, in a written statement.
Just as Vermont’s CCC started small and now brings hundreds of people, Condon expects Bethany’s to grow, possibly to a summertime event.
The night includes speakers, plus a toast in memory and honor of cancer patients. Every Happy Hour has a cash bar with a special signature drink. Tunnell earns one dollar per signature drink.
“It is a high-class, really fun cocktail party. That’s what it’s turned into, which was [the] vision all along,” Condon said.
She moved from Burlington to Delaware one year ago, inspired to bring Cocktails Curing Cancer too. (A third chapter is forming in Atlanta, Ga.) Where Vermont’s event is solely breast cancer, Delaware will serve all cancer patients.
“I want to give back in a meaningful way, really support families that are going through what I personally went though, but also finding ways to cure it,” Condon said.
Having lost her own mother to lung cancer in 2007 and her father to mesothelioma in 2013, Condon said she’s passionate about this cause and doesn’t personally get a dime from it.
She called it “significant” when a room of strangers supports each other.
“I think it’s really important when you walk into a room and you look around and you realize that every single person in that room is there because they have they same connection that you do. To realize you’re not alone in whatever battle you’re going through — it’s pretty significant.”
Plus it’s a fun and exciting event, where you’re bound to make new friends, she added.
Tickets include entrance, appetizers and one drink. Guests will want to bring cash for additional drinks and the chance auction.
Tickets cost $45 at www.EventBrite.com (search for Cocktails Curing Cancer). A few tickets may be available at the door.
“I think this is a really great opportunity for people in the Bethany area and in Sussex County to combine their social life with giving back,” Condon said. “Come eat, drink, socialize, enjoy and support a great cause.”
Eight whole rockfish laid on cutting boards as a roomful of people nervously picked up their knives. They had never fileted a fish before, but were ready to try at the “Gilled to Grilled” workshop at Indian River Life-Saving Station.
“We’ve been doing surf fishing classes for several years now... but people want that next step,” said Laura Scharle, interpretive manager for Delaware Seashore State Park. She’s filling in the blanks with the new Gilled to Grilled program.
“We had one couple say it was one of their favorite date nights ever,” she said.
People lined the room, each armed with a knife and cutting board, staring at the raw fish, which they would be cooking in one hour.
“You guys are gonna be one happy family. We’re going to be eating dinner together,” Scharle said.
Tonight, Brian Scharle led the class, starting at the neck, working away the lower guts and fileting the meat away from the bones.
People bravely embraced the “ickyness” and dug in, even admitting to having fun by the end.
“I’ve retired and took up fishing, so I need to know how to clean it,” said Carolyn Baranowski. “Now I just have to learn what to put on the hook to catch the fish!”
“When you poke your knife in, you’ll feel resistance... you’re just gonna follow along the edge of the jaw,” Scharle said, as they pulled tender bits of meat.
Having proudly hacked their fish into edible pieces, the group washed their hands and got ready for business. They turned to face a pile of spices, butter, oil and lemon.
It was time to start cooking. Some massaged oil into the fish while others dumped lemon and dill on top. Eight chefs produced eight different recipes.
Everyone marched outside to cook over individual propane grills, while garlic and pepper teased their noses.
Joe Kienle called it “torture” to wait for dinner while his fish sizzled in butter. He and the others chatted to fill the time.
Kienle said he barely cooks fish, let alone cleaning it.
“When it’s done you should be able to stick a fork in it and twist real easily,” Scharle told his students. “There’ll be no resistance.”
Meanwhile, the indoor workshop was undergoing a complete transformation, from chop shop to cozy dining room.
“When the people come back in, they’re gonna be completely surprised,” said Margaret Kimmel of the IR Life-Saving Station.
Rockfish was just part of the night’s menu of salad, grains and bread.
“It’s not a program where you have to go to dinner before or afterward,” Laura Scharle said.
Plus, people feel accomplished to see their own filet served with greens and grains.
“This is better than advertised,” said Kienle, finally digging in. He found Gilled and Grilled on the state parks website.
“That was delicious,” Baranowski said.
“We did a good job,” Jeanette Baldwin said.
The diners also truly appreciated what goes into a meal, from the seafood market that carefully filets huge fish to the animals themselves. Some folks even admitted they always throw the fish back, for fear of wasting the animal by practicing — and botching the job.
“They just have a fear they’re gonna butcher it... and waste it,” Brian Scharle said. “If you’ve got somebody that can show you how to do it,” beginners can improve with articles or online videos. “Practice makes perfect. The more you do it, the more confortable you are with it.”
Some felt they could do it again, and some would want guidance.
After happily eating and comfortably chatting for a while, some people still had leftovers to take home
“We had plenty to eat,” Baldwin said.
“It’s a nice little social event,” Donna Dolce said.
The next Gilled and Grilled programs costs $45 per person on Fridays, Nov. 7 and Dec. 5
Pre-registration is required with Indian River Life-Saving Station at (302) 227-6991. Learn more about programs at www.destateparks.com/park/delaware-seashore.
For the past 21 years, Sussex County community leaders, business people and citizens have been coming together at the Today and Tomorrow Conference to promote economics, partnership and collaboration in the county.
The conference, which was held last week at Delaware Tech in Georgetown, was a “SELLebration.”
Scott Kammerer, president and CEO for the Matt Haley Companies, the keynote speaker, spoke to attendees about how he and Haley worked together to sell themselves and their business in Sussex County and the world.
“I always feel we could not have done what we did anywhere else. Sussex County is a special place,” he said. “[Matt] was a leader of a dynamic company from Sussex County, Delaware, which is what we were most proud of…
“We learned to sell the brand, be entrepreneurs, to differentiate ourselves, to do good for others and not be selfish,” he continued. “Those are the core values of our company. Good is the enemy of great. Don’t put off something to tomorrow that you could do today — huge lesson for us.”
Kammerer became the head of the Matt Haley Companies after his friend, mentor and partner Haley, died from complications resulting from a motorcycle accident in India this past August.
“He died the way he lived,” said Kammerer. “He lived like a rock star doing what he loved. Matt was a humanitarian — he was on a mission, an adventure high in the mountains. He was helping people no one else would help, he was living the life he deserved…
“He died as close to heaven as you can get. He died with talented and creative people around him, trying to make the world a better place.”
The two came from humble beginnings, teaming up in the late 1990s to create a culinary empire.
“Things weren’t always so rosy. When I met Matt, he had been fired from his first job out of jail and I was a college dropout. I was washing dishes. We were not what you would consider a dream team at the time. We’ve become an American success story, a Sussex County success story.”
Kammerer said that he and Haley were also in recovery, he from alcoholism, and Haley from drugs.
“We were living one day at a time,” said Kammerer. “When Matt was 35 years old he was taking a bus to work making minimum wage. He was an ex-con, a junkie, a dreamer, a poet, a chef. He was a visionary and a leader. He was as low as you could get. As the story goes, he had one red shoe and one blue shoe… He said the Salvation Army didn’t have two size 13s that matched.
“We’ve come a long way. Matt started this company with $37 and a dream... By 2009, Inc. magazine had named us the fastest growing restaurant group in America. Since that day we’ve grown sales 400 percent.”
Haley had a gift, according to Kammerer, to see the potential in people, who at times couldn’t see it in themselves.
“I think my alcoholism and recovery plays such a big part in my life — the good and the bad. I feel like I’m living on borrowed time. I was worthless and helpless at a time. Matt believed in me before I could believe in myself. He was my biggest supporter.
“He took a chance on me. I often think, ‘how did he know?’ I was a dishwasher. How did he know I could be this successful? I just think he had a gift. We have a lot of people in our company that are really talented that you wouldn’t have thought it, and I wouldn’t have picked them.”
Today, the Matt Haley Companies oversee 1,000 employees, numerous restaurants, a soda line, worldwide charities, a group of orphans in Nepal, and $47 million in sales.
“There was no job interview for this. There was no focus group, there was no search committee. I was always supposed to lead, I was always supposed to be the future, I was always Matt’s protégé.”
Kammerer said that he believes the restaurant business is unique, in that it has a special responsibility to the community.
“Being on that line, just cooking the food, you forget that you’re sustaining people. The greatest thing about the restaurant business is when people are sad they come to you, when they’re happy they come to you. You get to experience so many different parts of their lives, he said. “You get engaged, you come to the restaurant. When your family member dies, you come to the restaurant. We have a big responsibility and we have to show up and deliver.”
Kammerer said that MHC chose not to participate in the recent recession, which hit their restaurant Fish On! very hard.
“Instead of backing away and giving up on Sussex County, we doubled down,” he said, noting they changed a number of things such as management, incentivized their workforce, and built a happy hour crowd. “A lot of people at the time thought we should’ve walked away from what was too big of a restaurant, and now it’s one of our most successful.”
It was recently announced that SoDel Concepts, part of the Matt Haley Companies, would take over creating meals for Meals on Wheels Lewes-Rehoboth.
Jen Blakeman, Culinary Institute of America trained chef, who is the chef for Plate Catering is overseeing those efforts at Fish On!.
“We invested, we built a new cooking line. We cook 300 meals a day for homebound seniors. It’s what I’m most proud of to be honest,” said Kammerer. Adding, “I didn’t know they were going to pay us for it. I honestly thought we were going to volunteer for it.”
Continuing Haley’s legacy through the Global Delaware Fund, a non-profit organization dedicated to providing goods and services to children at risk in distressed situations throughout the world.
“When he was packing for India he was packing a duffle bag with three pairs of jeans, three shirts, and $50,000 in cash. He was going to buy cook stoves for villages in Nepal,” recalled Kammerer. “I will go where the money goes to make sure it’s spent properly.”
Following Haley’s death, Kammerer said the entire state of Delaware, including Gov. Jack Markell, Sen. Chris Coons, Secretary Alan Levin of the Department of Economic Development, and Michelle Freeman and Patti Grimes of the Freeman Foundation called him.
“The people of Delaware reached out to me. These people didn’t turn their back on me and I’ll never turn my back on them.”
Kammerer said that in the wake of his friend’s death he felt the need to sell himself as the sole head of the Matt Haley Companies.
“On the day I woke up and my partner was gone I was crushed, I was terrified. I didn’t want to get out of bed in the morning. I needed to sell myself again. I needed to sell myself to the employees. I needed to sell myself to the bank; I needed to sell myself to the vendors. I needed to sell myself to the charities so that they’d believe in me; that this company wouldn’t end.”
However, he realized that he didn’t need to convince anyone but himself that he could face the challenge of losing his best friend and continuing the success of their businesses.
“It all came back to me that morning when I realized the only person I needed to sell to was myself. I had built 50 restaurants; I had consulted in over $250 million in sales... The only person I had to convince was myself.
“The biggest thing I learned from Matt Haley was live the life you deserve, believe in yourself, build something great and don’t be afraid to sell.”
After a close look at advertising, Fenwick Island Town Council agreed to adjust the terms of Lifeguard Stand Sponsorship in October.
By allowing businesses to advertise on lifeguard stands, the Town first made $13,000 in 2013. That dropped to $7,000 this summer.
“The signs are great,” added Town Manager Merritt Burke IV, hearing “no complaints except ‘I don’t have cash in January,’ or it just doesn’t work for everybody in year one.”
“That type of advertising … it’s hard to track,” said Mayor Audrey Serio.
“We hear it’s competitively priced, as well,” Burke said.
Businesses pay $500 or $800 to advertise on lifeguard stands.
“You cannot put [advertising] in the paper for less than $300,” Serio agreed. “I think nobody wants to put out $800 in January. Nobody does.”
The Town will make payments more palatable by lowering the down payment and allowing incremental payments.
“I trust the business community,” Burke said. “I think staff here works with the business community in the spirit of making things work.
“I think we can market a little more aggressively,” Burke added.
“We’ll reevaluate if there’s another 30-percent drop” next year, Councilmember Todd Smallwood said.
Council also agreed to begin accepting bids for the 2015 and 2016 Beach Concession Contract at State Line Beach.
Anyone may bid for a two-year contract, followed by the possibility of two additional one-year extensions.
The longer term contract is meant to make the investment worthwhile, Burke said. That includes setting up a trailer or other sales facility.
They expect to have at least one applicant after the success of this year’s vendor, which paid for an $11,500 contract and made at least $35,000 in profit last year, Burke said.
In other Fenwick Island news:
• Councilmembers want more information on FEMA-mandated regulations that all towns must pass to remain in the National Flood Insurance Program.
“After discussing with some councilpeople and others, Gene [Langan] and I decided that we felt there were too many questions and maybe not enough understanding across the board,” Serio said. “We do have to pass a section by March 15, 2015, so we are on a time frame.”
Delaware Department of Natural Resources will send someone to meet with the town on Nov. 25 at 10 a.m. “who can answer our questions and explain what all these pages say,” so Serio said everyone can understand the requirements, even if they can’t change it.
• Police officer John Neville was promoted to lieutenant.
“John is the mortar that holds me together. I really do depend on him more than he realizes,” said Chief William Boyden, who said “the benchmark is when I come back [from vacation] that little red light on my phone is not blinking,” since Neville handles all concerns.
• Online payments are up and running at the Town of Fenwick website. There is a small fee for all credit card payments, online and at Town Hall.
• Fenwick Island and Rehoboth Beach were selected for a full-scale emergency drill on Nov. 12 and 13.
From 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., an emergency team talks through the fictional situation of a Category 3 hurricane, seven days past the initial event.
“We’ll go live with over 25 agencies in the state to see where we are strong and where we are weak,” Burke said. “I thought we did well during [Hurricane] Sandy, [but there’s always room to improve].”
Although it might not be the most exciting day, Burke said there is much to consider, especially as “I don’t think Category 3 has hit this area head-on. … I’m not sure if we’re entirely prepared, or at the county level or the state level, for that type of storm.”
• Fenwick Flicks was such a summertime success that council unanimously voted to sponsor the event for $800, for the Bethany-Fenwick Area Chamber of Commerce.
“We thought it was very positive. We had 300 to 400 people per event,” said Chamber Executive Director Kristie Maravalli, including the night high winds canceled the actual screening. Additional events added to the movie nights, like children’s Olympics, skim board demos and sandcastle building contests.
“It was really fun. I’m glad to report we were able to run it in the black, which I know was an issue last year,” Maravalli said.
• Through the Community Transportation Trust Fund, State Sen. Gerald Hocker Sr. and Rep. Ron Gray are helping fund an extension of sidewalk and ADA-compliant ramp near the Town park and police station.
• Fenwick has created a Business Development Committee, with many of the same members from the (ended) ad hoc Parking Committee.
“We tried it before,” Serio said, but everyone seemed more able to attend Parking meetings, so hopefully the reincarnated business committee will work better.
• The first reading was approved for ordinance Chapter 116, Article II: Special Events. It holds the Town harmless from any claims that may arise from special outdoor events in a commercial. Also, the Town attorney has suggested the town may want to consider civil penalties, which are easier to enforce in civil court than in justice of the peace court.
• The 7th Annual Turkey Trot is scheduled for Nov. 27 at 8 a.m. to benefit the Global Delaware Fund.
• When resident Lynn Andrews asked about highway maintenance, Serio noted that the medians need to be redone. Sposato Landscape Co. was scheduled to do work in late October, December and April of 2015.
Langan shared concern that some trees are too tall for drivers to see pedestrians. Serio noted that some Bethany Beach plantings are “the same way. If you’re turning, you can’t see what’s coming.”
• Fenwick Island will apply for the DNREC Surface Water Matching Planning Grant, which could pay half the cost of a $12,900 engineering contract, planning how Fenwick could improve drainage on W. Dagsboro Street.
• Joseph Dashiell Builders was granted a building permit extension for 1103 Bunting Avenue.
“We had a piece of steel manufactured in Chicago … 12 inches over the building height,” Dashiell said, “a piece of steel that could not be made locally.”
It was shipped back to be replaced.
Council agreed that reasonable progress is being made by a reputable builder, so the Jan. 7, 2015, expiration date was extended by several months.
• November was proclaimed to be Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Month, recognizing a disease with a 5-year survival rate in the single digits.
• Cannon Street Park has improved drainage since installation of a new pipe and rain garden, reported Bryan Reed, Public Works Supervisor.
• At the beach, Mobi-Mats will be coming down soon for winter.
The next regular Town Council meeting is Dec. 11 at 3:30 p.m.
“I’m one of the lucky ones,” said veteran Rudy Viguie. “Nobody shot at me. Nobody dropped bombs on me... For me, it probably saved my life. Growing up on the streets of New York, it’s a tough life.”
Viguie volunteered for the Air Force once he turned 17 years old in 1952. Instead of those who were drafted for the war, he served four years as opposed to two.
“I didn’t have to go into the military, I wanted to go into the military. I joined the Air Force because I had this love of aviation.
“Going into the military,” he said, snapping his fingers, “it whipped me right into shape. They gave me purpose, they gave me direction, they gave me discipline. I owe them more than they owe me. I find most veterans feel the same way.”
Viguie said he joined the Air Force because he had studied aviation in high school.
“We knew eventually everyone was going to go,” he said.
After Viguie enlisted he attended basic training at Samson Air Force Base in Geneva, N.Y. He then was stationed in Albany, Ga. with the U.S. Strategic Air Command, assigned to flight line as a mechanic for four months working on F-84 Thunderjets. He then attended jet fighter mechanic school in Amarillo, Texas. Following graduation in May 1953, he went to Suffolk County Air Force Base in New York before going to Korea.
“Went to Korea in 1954 after the cease fire... I missed it,” he said of seeing action. “I was really one of the fortunate ones.”
Viguie recalled one of his first memories in Korea being a wall of “Dear John” letters.
“When I got to the barracks and opened the door on my first day I saw these letters... A lot of guys had girlfriends who would write them letters basically saying goodbye, that they had found somebody else. The guys would post those letters on the wall for people to read. It was very sad,” he said. “I can’t tell you some of the letters I read.”
Following his deployment, he was stationed at Selfridge Air Force Base in Michigan, in the 94th squadron “The Hat in the Ring,” a descendent of Eddie Rickenbacker.
Viguie returned to civilian life as an Airman First Class, and spent an additional three years on the flight line working for Republic Aviation.
Growing up in Brooklyn, N.Y., Viguie said that World War II veterans were his heroes.
“The World War II vets were my heroes. Those were the guys I looked up to. Those are the guys we would run after... We wanted to be like them. We wanted to wear uniforms. In World War II the guys who wore uniforms, they were proud. We would run up to them, we would walk down the street with them.”
Viguie, who was 10 years old in 1945, said he could recall the vivid memory of family members in his neighborhood receiving letters from the War Department.
“People live one on top of the other... In the summertime when we were kids we would be out playing in the morning, yelling and screaming, throwing the ball around and between nine and 10 o’clock the postman would deliver the mail…
“We would be out playing ball and it was an eerie feeling... You could hear this wailing and we would stop. It could be three or four blocks away and we would stop look at each other and listen... Somebody just got a letter that their loved one had died.”
For the lucky ones who returned home from World War II, Viguie said their homecoming may have only been temporary, as some were later drafted into the Korean War.
“Could you imagine coming home from World War II, thinking that it’s all over in 1945, big celebrations... ’46, ’47, ’48, ’49, cha-ching — and get drafted?”
He said he knows two WWII vets, one of whom is his friend Ted Grossman’s father.
“His father was a Jewish navigator on a B-17,” he said. “He gets to England, first day there puts his bags away. They had a navigator who was sick, so they put him on a flight. First day. He goes on a flight, gets shot down, gets captured, and taken to a German imprisonment camp — a Jewish navigation pilot.”
Viguie said he tries to be sensitive to those who “saw hell,” especially to Vietnam veterans.
“I have two friends who went to Vietnam and were brutalized. They saw unimaginable horror and then they came home to even worse.”
Viguie said he has a friend who served in Vietnam who once told him he was ashamed to wear his uniform.
“I couldn’t relate. When I came home I looked in my wardrobe and the only thing that looked nice was my uniform. So I would put on my uniform and go uptown. Somebody might buy you a dinner, someone would say, ‘Hi,’” he recalled. “This guy when he came home, he couldn’t wear his uniform. He said, ‘somebody came up to me in the airport and spit on me.’ Those guys are affected. That’s why I’m very sensitive to the Vietnam vets. It’s pretty sad that our Vietnam vets feel guilty about what they did. It’s terrible.”
For that reason, Viguie said any time he sees a Vietnam veteran he tries to make a point to stop them and thank them for their service.
“All these guys did what they had to do,” he said.
For the past few years, Viguie has been helping his wife, Pat, the events planner at Lighthouse Christian School, with the school’s Veterans Day Program. This year the program will be held on Friday, Nov. 7, from 1:30 to 3 p.m.
“It’s kind of a warm feeling to get to know people who’ve survived,” he said. “Without saying it, we say, ‘Boy, are we fortunate.’”
Following leaving the Air Force, Viguie studied mechanical technology and went into manufacturing. He has over 10 patents, helped set up manufacturing companies in the States, as well as in Europe, for aircraft engines.
“I was fortunate to be in the right place at the right time, with the right skills. I was a pioneer in developing this.”
Viguie still works in aeronautics, as an engineering consultant for GE Aviation and Honeywell Aero.
“This is what the Air Force did for me,” he said.
Viguie stressed how fortunate he was for what he gained from his service to the country, and thanked all those veterans who have served before him, with him and after him.
“We fight evil all over the world,” he said. “This is an incredible country. Never in the history of mankind has there ever been a similar nation to ours. I would do it again in a heartbeat. So would every other veteran.”
Barely three months after South Bethany gave people the option to build taller homes with flood-resistant freeboard, Town Council is considering mandatory freeboard.
Not all councilmembers are happy about it.
After many months and hours of debate, Town Council passed Ordinance 172-14 in August, “which allowed two additional feet of building height if owners included two additional feet of freeboard on a voluntary basis,” wrote Mayor Pat Voveris.
The divisive topic was resurrected at an Oct. 23 workshop to discuss new floodplain ordinances. As Council reviewed a 40-plus-page draft — which Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) requires for all towns in the National Flood Insurance Program — discussion returned to mandatory freeboard.
“FEMA does not demand freeboard, but they and DNREC highly recommend 12 to 18 inches,” George Junkin said.
Jim Gross suggested that the document include 2 feet of mandatory freeboard. Tony Caputo, Tim Saxton and Al Rae agreed.
Voveris protested, claiming that it had not been discussed in the context of FEMA’s draft.
Gross said freeboard has been discussed for a year.
Not here at this meeting, Voveris said.
Despite the option, people are still building without freeboard, said Code Enforcement Constable Joe Hinks. And it’s not out of ignorance.
Hinks said the Town’s Floor-Area Ratio (FAR) discouraged at least one person from building a higher, safer house. That’s because the house footprint would be smaller to accommodate a higher staircase.
“So how the house is designed was more important that that to them,” Sue Callaway asked.
“Yeah,” Hinks said.
“They’ll be sorry,” Caputo murmured.
“People build to the code,” which Junkin said is supposed to protect people. “If we don’t consider [that], the council is not doing its job.”
Council already is protecting the people by offering optional freeboard, Callaway said.
If freeboard is mandatory, Saxton said Council must revisit everything, including FAR, Livable Area Ratio, number of bathrooms and more.
“I don’t think it’s as simple as saying it’s 2 feet,” Saxton said.
“Be prepared,” for that discussion, Callaway warned. For instance, if staircases are allowed in the setbacks due to freeboard, residents will request that for other reasons, like making room for a handicap ramp.
Councilmembers suggested benefits of mandatory freeboard: discounts on flood insurance, increased property values and more.
The vote forward
Callaway and Voveris voted against the 5-2 measure.
“I was very surprised that the subject even came up and was not comfortable [voting],” Voveris said afterward.
As for council saving homeowners from themselves, “I don’t see it was that way,” Voveris said. “I see that as overreach of government.”
Mandatory freeboard “always met with resistance, even on the Sea Level Rise Committee, which couldn’t come to consensus,” Voveris said.
Within the next week, Voveris emailed residents with the new information.
“As mayor I feel it is my responsibility to notify the town,” Voveris said, especially as fewer property owners spend winter in South Bethany. “So they know what their government is doing.”
“At the October 23, 2014, Town Council Workshop Meeting, the Council by majority vote (5 to 2) reversed its previous position allowing for voluntary use of freeboard and moved to develop the new Floodplain Ordinance requiring the mandatory use of freeboard,” she wrote. “It is important to note that FEMA does not require the mandatory use of freeboard.”
Voveris strongly encouraged residents to attend the public meetings, plus contact her and the council with their opinions.
FEMA’s requirement and DNREC’s request
All towns wishing to remain in the National Flood Insurance Program must enact FEMA’s new requirements. In addition, Delaware Department of Natural Resources sent a draft ordinance with its own requests — but not demands. All coastal towns are researching how these measures best fit their codes.
This process does not scrap the existing code, but adjusts much of it.
“The more you change,” the longer the approval process, Junkin said. “We can rework it to suit us. We just can do anything that’ll cause us to violate — to have FEMA kick us out.”
For instance, the State only recommends that houses can be removed from the floodplain if they are raised 18 inches above the current level. Junkin said the SLR Committee disagrees and believes that exclusion should remain at 1 inch. People still have to apply to FEMA for that designation, but Town Code can mandate the number.
“What if the Sea level rises?” Caputo asked.
FEMA can still change its policies, but currently anything being built is already grandfathered in, Junkin said. (Unless Congress tries to remove the grandfathering clause again, to previously disastrous results.)
The next step
Rather than discuss every single detail, Council reviewed the major points. They decided to request a joint meeting of the Sea Level Rise Committee and Charter & Code Committee.
The Council admired that its DNREC-hired consultant, Rebecca Quinn, responded so quickly with her draft comments.
Junkin planned to ask her Council’s initial questions before the joint committee meeting.
The ordinance is still subject to the usual public process: public notifications in the newspaper “Legals” section, posters at Town Hall, public hearing and three official readings at different Council meetings.
Discussion will continue at 10 a.m. Monday, Nov. 17, at the public Planning Commission meeting.