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    Two Dagsboro-area men were arrested last week in connection with multiple burglaries committed in the last month.

    Jacob G. Svenson, 33, and Edward J. Nearey Jr., 37, were each charged with five counts of Burglary 3rd, two counts of Possession of Burglary Tools, five counts of Theft, Conspiracy 2nd, Selling Stolen Property and two counts of Criminal Mischief.

    SvensonSvensonSince the beginning of October, the Delaware State Police have been investigating approximately 20 burglaries in the Dagsboro and Selbyville areas, involving the theft of large amounts of power tools from garages, sheds and utility trailers.

    The DSP has also investigated multiple reports of thefts from yards and vehicles, all occurring in neighborhoods located off Irons Lane near Dagsboro.

    NeareyNeareyMaster Cpl. Gary Fournier, public information officer for the DSP, said a search warrant was conducted last week at Svenson’s and Nearey’s home on Cherry Log Lane, near Irons Lane, where the numerous thefts and burglaries had been occurring.

    During the search, more than $15,000 worth of suspected stolen property was recovered, including a commercial wood splitter valued at $2,200 that was allegedly stolen from a residence on Piney Neck Road.

    Other items, such as air compressors and power tools, that were allegedly stolen from various other locations in the Dagsboro and Selbyville area were also recovered and will eventually be returned to their owners, according to Fournier.

    He said that police try to get as much information from the theft victims as possible, such as receipts, serials numbers and even the original packaging for stolen items, in order to ensure the stolen goods may be returned once they are recovered.

    “That helps us,” he said, “especially for theses power tools. A lot of these guys might write down the serial number or have some information that they give to us detailing whatever their equipment was, and that will lead up back to the victim, so we’re able to return the property to them or contact them, letting them know the item was recovered.

    “In some instances, the item is marked specifically through a company and has specific markings,” he added, stating that police are able to look through past reports to identify the owners of stolen property.

    He added that stolen goods will be held by the police for a period of time in hopes of locating their owners.

    “Let’s say one of these victims lives out of state, and they have not come down and noticed that their house has been burglarized,” he explained. “Then, in the summer, they come and see they’re missing a power tool… If they report it, it will immediately go to our detectives, who will be able to say if we have that item on-hand.”

    Following their arrests, Svenson and Nearey were committed to Sussex Correctional Institution for lack of $49,000 secured bond and $37,001 secured bond, respectively.

    The investigation into the burglaries was continuing this week, and more charges could be forthcoming.

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    On Wednesday, Nov. 26, at 7 p.m., at the historic Barratt’s Chapel, the Reminders will lead a Thanksgiving Eve Vigil.

    “The Vigil will be a meditative and moving concert with acclaimed guest artists sharing their special brand of music to celebrate and give thanks,” organizers said.

    Admission to the concert is free of charge. A love offering will be taken. The concert is open to the public.

    Barratt’s Chapel and Museum are located on U.S. Route 113, at 6362 Bay Road, just outside of Frederica. For more information, contact Barratt’s Chapel Curator Barb Duffin at (302) 335-5544 or, or visit

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    The South Bethany Town Council will be continuing its discussion of requiring 2 feet of mandatory freeboard following a change in some council members’ minds after their Oct. 23 workshop.

    As the Town of South Bethany participates in the National Flood Insurance Program, it is required to adhere to specific requirements of the federal government and, more specifically, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). Currently, FEMA is requiring all municipalities to update their flood maps and the regulations that govern construction within a flood zone.

    FEMA released a “basic model ordinance” for municipalities to use, if they chose to do so, during the process. Additionally, a recommended of 12 to 18 inches of freeboard — a factor of safety in elevating a building’s lowest floor above predicted base flood elevations — is a recommended requirement within the ordinance used by the governments.

    The council had previously agreed to give residents the option of having 2 feet of freeboard.

    Mayor Pat Voveris, concerned with the council vote at the October workshop to discuss the flood plain ordinance, had previously contacted Deputy Attorney General Edward Black, who had given a presentation at town hall earlier in the year regarding the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA).

    “I wanted to make sure, if we had violated [FOIA], that we correct the mistake,” Voveris said earlier this week. “We had a long conversation, and he told me basically that the purpose of the Freedom of information Act is to allow people to observe and monitor their government at work.

    “Not having specific language that said ‘mandatory freeboard’ on the agenda — we really weren’t doing that. Our agenda wasn’t correct. To compound that, mandatory freeboard has a cost associated with it. You really shouldn’t be speaking about items that will incur cost to our constituents without them having the ability to observe and monitor.”

    At last Friday’s meeting, Voveris recommended the council follow Black’s recommendation by making their October action on the issue null and void, and repost it on an agenda.

    “I just don’t see how council can’t listen to the Attorney General,” she said. “I didn’t make it up. I spoke to the man.”

    Councilwoman Sue Callaway supported Voveris’ motion, stating that it was clear at the October workshop that the topic was not on the agenda.

    “We were moving ahead with an issue that the public had not been informed that we would be voting on and making a decision about that was obviously of magnitude to people — otherwise, we wouldn’t have had the kind of response we’re having,” she said.

    “Pat and I both said very clearly, as soon as the motion was made, that it was not an appropriate step… We were overlooked, and the vote went through.”

    Councilman Al Rae disagreed with the opinion given, stating that Black’s decision, in part, was based on false information that had been printed in a local newspaper.

    “It’s procedural,” said Councilman Tim Saxton of the problem. “I struggle with this vote because this town council acted in good faith.”

    Councilman George Junkin said he believed the October meeting and the topic of freeboard was properly advertised on the meeting’s agenda. Due to freeboard being one of a number of facets of the Town’s in-progress floodplain ordinance.

    One resident asked why the council would take the chance of being wrong procedurally by not nullifying the October vote.

    “Because it says we did something wrong, and we didn’t,” responded Junkin.

    The majority of the council did not agree with Black’s recommendation Friday night and voted not to nullify the October vote. Voveris, Callaway and Saxton voted in favor of nullifying the vote, while Jim Gross, Al Rae, Tony Caputo and Junkin voted against the motion.

    “Whether it was a violation of FOIA or not, we violated South Bethany process,” said Callaway. “We turned around after eight months of work on an ordinance that we spent an enormous amount of time on… I support Pat 100 percent. I think all the actions she took were appropriate.”

    “I was disappointed they did that,” said Voveris earlier this week. “When you’re advised by the Attorney General, I think it’s in your best interest to proceed as they recommend. It would’ve cost us nothing to acquiesce to the recommendation of the Attorney General, because we had it right back on the agenda.”

    Later in the meeting, the council voted to keep the mandatory freeboard language in the draft ordinance, with Saxton, Voveris and Callaway opposed.

    Rae said he was voting to keep the language because it reaffirmed the action at the October workshop but said he would support a referendum on the issue.

    An estimated 70 residents were in attendance for the meeting, with the overwhelming majority against mandatory freeboard.

    One resident voiced concern that the council would be deciding on the matter during the off-season, while many property owners are not living in town.

    Bill Beckett said requiring 2 feet of freeboard would be an “overreach by council.”

    “We don’t really need the council to tell us how to use or appropriate land that we own,” said Beckett, who formerly served on the council, adding that the council needs to be as transparent with the process as possible. “This council does not want to get a reputation of trying to pass things while people are out of town.”

    Michael Walsh, who has owned property in the town for 40 years, said that, while the concept of freeboard is good, he and his wife are strongly opposed to mandatory freeboard.

    “This is happening now in virtually the dead of winter,” he said. “To come up suddenly like this… seems a little unusual.”

    Caputo said he had initially voted for voluntary freeboard before having enough information to realize mandatory freeboard would be more appropriate for the town. He explained that, if a resident were to renovate their home, the mandatory freeboard would require the home to be raised to base flood elevation, plus 2 feet.

    “It doesn’t change the fact you have to raise your home. You have to go to base plus two feet,” he said. “If you’re raising your home today, you’re talking about a fairly inexpensive amount of money.”

    “Nonsense,” said one homeowner in the audience.

    Resident Brad Gough said his home is not conducive being raised, and he believes freeboard should not be mandated.

    “Don’t force me. I would love it to be voluntary. It’s a good idea. If my lot was conducive, I would be happy to do it,” he said. “It’s an individual thing. … How does making an individual raise or lower [their home] — if it doesn’t benefit or hurt anybody else, why is it appropriate to make it mandatory for everyone else?”

    “I personally believe it helps everybody,” responded Junkin. “If your house is worth more because it’s 2 feet in elevation higher, it makes South Bethany a better place to live.”

    Resident Carol Stevenson asked the council what had happened in a matter of 10 weeks to make them change their minds regarding mandatory freeboard. Junkin referred residents to a newsletter he had sent to residents stating his rationale for supporting mandatory freeboard.

    In the newsletter, Junkin stated that his standpoint was based on the following reasons: “the risk of flooding is significantly reduced when there is freeboard; property values will be higher if there is freeboard; insurance is significantly less when there is freeboard; FEMA strongly recommends that there be 1 to 3 feet of freeboard; New Castle and Kent counties and many local communities already require mandatory freeboard; base flood elevations (BFEs) in South Bethany have increased 3 feet in the last 30 years; freeboard would have kept homeowners from having homes that are now below BFE; [and] statistically, homes that are built [only] to the minimum BFE standards will see damage from flooding in their lifetime.”

    Junkin said his support of mandatory freeboard is also based on his personal experience after making substantial improvements to his home in 2001.

    Resident Joan Marini told council she would support mandatory freeboard, citing routine coastal flooding.

    “When you look at these new houses that are being built, I’m not seeing any of the new houses going up without freeboard,” she said, stating that there could be a need for older homes being renovated to require freeboard. She recommended the Town conduct a nonbinding referendum to see how its citizens feel regarding the matter.

    Junkin added that the ordinance is not set in stone, as there will be time for public comment during public hearings for the draft ordinance.

    Code Enforcement Constable Joe Hinks emphasized to the council that the ordinance must have FEMA’s stamp of approval by March 15, 2015. Prior to that, it must be reviewed and approved by the Delaware Department of Natural Resources & Environmental Control, prior to being sent to FEMA for review and comment.

    If the document is not approved by FEMA by the March deadline, the Town runs the risk of being suspended from the flood insurance program.

    The council was scheduled to continue its discussion on mandatory freeboard at its Nov. 20 workshop, following Coastal Point’s news deadline this week. Junkin requested the item be placed on the agenda.

    “Maybe Thursday will be a good day for South Bethany,” Voveris said early this week. “All I need is one person [on council] to have a change of position and conscience and come forward.”

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    A car on fire was reported at the Fraternal Order of Eagles on Atlantic Avenue about 11:50 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 15. Delaware State Police assisted the Delaware State Fire Marshal’s Office in securing the scene that night, and it was suspected that the fire had been intentionally set.

    “Anytime we investigate a fire, we look for two things,” explained Deputy Chief State Fire Marshal Harry Miller, “the area of origin and the heat source to cause the fire. If there’s no accidental heat source to cause the fire, it has to be set.”

    Through video surveillance, Doreen K. Bowman, 58, of Ocean View, was named as a suspect in the crime.

    Later that evening, Bowman was observed returning the club. Police said she drove into the entrance and was stopped by a trooper securing the scene. At that time, the trooper detected an odor of alcohol from her, and she was asked for her identification, for which, police said, she gave a false name.

    An Ocean View police officer was able to positively identify Bowman and was aware that she had an active warrant out of Troop 4 in Georgetown for a charge of Offensive Touching.

    Police ordered Bowman to exit the vehicle, but instead, they said, she drove further into the parking lot and then made a U-turn, in an apparent attempt to exit the parking lot. She was soon stopped and physically removed from the car and placed in custody, police said.

    Bowman was then transported back to Troop 4, where she was charged with 3rd Offense Driving Under the Influence of Alcohol, following previous convictions in July 2012 and August 2014. Additional charges filed this week included Criminal Impersonation, Resisting Arrest, Failure to Have Insurance in Possession, Failure to Have License in Possession and Offensive Touching.

    Additionally, Bowman was charged by the Fire Marshal’s Office with one felony count of Arson in the 2nd degree, and one count of use of an Incendiary Device, Molotov cocktail and explosive devices, also a felony.

    Police said the Offensive Touching charge stemmed from an incident that occurred on Oct. 28, at a residence on Ashland Drive in Ocean View, in which Bowman had allegedly grabbed a 58-year-old woman and thrown her to the ground during an altercation.

    Bowman was committed to Delores J. Baylor Women’s Correctional Institution for lack of $3,351 secured bond.

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    Steen’s Beach Service will continue to provide beach equipment rental concessions to residents and visitors to Bethany Beach for at least the next two years.

    At their Nov. 14 meeting, the Bethany Beach Town Council voted unanimously, with Councilman Joe Healy absent, to renew Steen’s current contract for an additional two years.

    The council chambers were packed, with numerous attendees wearing Steen’s T-shirts and some holding homemade signs reading “Support Steen’s,” a business that has been operating in the town since 1957.

    Councilman Lew Killmer read a prepared statement, in which he said the outpouring of resident response on the proposal for the Town to do its own beach concessions really “shows a lot about our community and its passion for our town.”

    “I don’t believe the Town needs to be in the business of providing a beach concession service,” he said, receiving applause from the audience.

    Killmer said the Nov. 10 council meeting was the first time the council was able to review and discuss the idea of the Town taking over beach concessions as a means to help fund an Emergency Relief Fund, at the recommendation of Town Manager Cliff Graviet.

    Killmer lamented that the focus of the discussion had become the beach concession proposal, rather than the need for establishing and funding an emergency fund, which he said he believes is “incredibly important.”

    He said residents had brought a lot of good questions to the Town that had yet to be answered.

    “It’s important for the Town to have an interest in those questions and to know more about beach concessions in general before the Town enters into another long-term beach concession contract,” he said. “I like us to truly know what is truly good for Bethany Beach and to be satisfied we are fulfilling our fiduciary responsibilities to the entire community.”

    Killmer motioned to not award Steen’s another five-year contract, but rather to create an addendum to Steen’s previous contract, extending it for two years at the yearly rate last paid by proprietor Ron Steen. Killmer cited the yearly figure as $62,049.29.

    “I believe a two-year extension is in everyone’s interest,” he said. “This allows the Town Council to address a number of issues raised on Monday, and, in turn, the Town Council is doing the best thing not only for Bethany Beach citizens but also for Steen’s Beach Services.”

    “Tempe, Paige and I accept,” said Steen of Killmer’s request for a two-year contract extension.

    Councilman Chuck Peterson agreed that an emergency fund is important for the Town, and suggested that the money provided by the renewal of Steen’s contract would be an excellent way to get that fund started.

    “One of the things Mr. Steen brought up himself — the idea of putting aside money we originally talked about for the Town funding the concession” would give the Town a good starting point for a fund,” he said.

    Councilwoman Rosemary Hardiman said exploring the idea was very valuable for the council and the Town.

    “It gives us an opportunity to try and find the best solution all around,” she said, adding that council had appreciated the feedback from all those interested.

    Hardiman praised Graviet for bringing the idea to council as an idea to help the Town in the future in the event of a disaster.

    “The proposal that Mr. Graviet presented to us, I think, was a very thoughtful one,” she said. “I think he was trying to address a problem that maybe we’ve discussed among ourselves for awhile, but we really haven’t focused on it to a way we should.

    “I give him a lot of credit for giving it the visibility it needs,” she said. “Hopefully, we can go forward together and look at those areas.”

    Hardiman added that the Town needs to find a way to find funding, in case the Town applies for aid from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

    “If we can’t come up with 25 percent of what FEMA would give us in order to repair that, Mr. Steen will not have a business, nor will other people in town have a business.”

    Mayor Jack Gordon also agreed with Killmer’s motion, stating he believed a two-year extension would be a reasonable timeframe to allow the Town and council to figure out what would be best for the Town and its businesses.

    “I think two years is a reasonable time to allow all of us to step back and look at the whole situation and see how we can solve the whole problem without hurting any private enterprise or not doing what is best for the Town in general,” he said.

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    Once again, the community is rallying to help a local family — this time, a young couple and two children who lost their Millsboro home to a devastating fire this week.

    Tyler and Amber Bare are no strangers to community service. She’s a career EMT in Millsboro. He’s a Marine Corps veteran and Millville volunteer firefighter. But after a Nov. 18 fire at their own home, the Bares and their two children were left without a home and much of their possessions, but immediately flooded with community support.

    The single-story ranch-style home on Sussex Alley was unoccupied when an electrical fire was reported around 6:30 p.m., said Millsboro EMT Thomas Berry. In the frigid night, several fire companies responded, extinguishing the blaze by 7 p.m.

    “At least two rooms burned out, [with] smoke damage throughout house, to everything in the house,” Berry said. He noted that the family pets, including a German shepherd, Labrador retriever and several cats did not survive. The family was offered shelter immediately.

    Within hours, social media lit up as people brainstormed ways to help the family. By Wednesday afternoon, people had raised more than $10,000 and begun planning other fundraisers.

    “The best thing I can say as far as donations — gift cards are probably the best,” Berry said. “You end up with a zillion clothes, and clothes are great, but you can’t eat them.”

    Multiple locations are collecting donations for the family, including Hocker’s Supercenter and G&E grocery stores, where Tyler Bare is an employee.

    Gift cards are best, agreed Melissa Hocker. Although the stores were accepting clothing and other items, she said the Bares seem to have many items already. People have been eager to help, she noted.

    “My phone and Facebook and text messages have gone off all day long. It’s great — makes you happy with the community you live in,” Hocker said.

    “We’re a very tight-knit community,” Berry said.

    “Tyler’s one of those people that, in the drop of a hat, wouldn’t hesitate to help you out,” said Hocker, remembering him assisting her with a flat tire and getting locked out of the house.

    “He’s so humble and appreciative,” she added. “They’re all great.”

    Online, people shared stories of the Bares repeatedly coming to the rescue.

    “Three years ago, they saved my 3-year-old son from drowning,” Laura Metro Shapiro posted on the Coastal Point’s Facebook page. Amber Bare had helped perform CPR on the boy, who survived, awaking from a coma several days later. “They are salt-of-the-earth, nothing but good people. They deserve all the support they are getting and much more!”

    Those looking to make monetary donations to the family can do so online, at

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    This week will mark the 20th time that Mountaire Farms will be feeding those who may otherwise be unable to share a Thanksgiving meal with their families and loved ones.

    “We’ll be doing 10,000 boxes,” said Roger Marino, corporate community relations director for Mountaire. “When we started, we did 300 boxes in the community, and all were seemingly satisfied. Last year, we did 8,500 boxes.”

    The community is again being invited to join the company in the effort and help pack a Thanksgiving meal at Mountaire’s Selbyville packing facility, on Monday, Nov. 24, beginning at 8:30 a.m.

    “We’ll have probably upward of 200-some volunteers who will come out and help us pack,” he said. “It’s a festive time, regardless of what the weather is — people still really enjoy it. They come from everywhere, from all areas on the peninsula. It’s really an amazing time.”

    This year, Marino said, police officers, church members, the entire Sussex Central High School football team and others will come together for the morning’s effort.

    “It’s a family. I see it as a family… We had two 90-year-olds last year come out,” said Marino. “We’re all working for a common cause, a common goal.”

    Marino said the boxes packed by volunteers will help feed more than 45,000 individuals this holiday season. They will each contain a Mountaire roaster chicken, cans of corn, green beans, yams, cranberry sauce and gravy, a box of stuffing mix and a box of brownie mix.

    “It’s the basics for a meal. If they had nothing else, they can live on that meal,” said Marino of the Thanksgiving meal provided in each box.

    Earlier in the month, members of American Legion Posts in Sussex and Kent counties, along with church and other community volunteers, were out in front of Delaware stores, such as Hocker’s Super Center and Giant, soliciting patrons to donate food for the effort.

    Once that food was collected, it was sorted, and Mountaire purchased the remaining food items from a participating grocery store that offered the best price for the bulk purchase.

    Mountaire works with area churches, shelters and social-service organizations to find families who may be in need during the holiday. Those organizations then distribute the boxes to those in need in Maryland, Delaware and Virginia.

    “This program has grown tremendously,” said Marino. “We’re already filled up with our requests… and I’m still getting phone calls.”

    Marino said that, over his 20-year involvement with the outreach, he has seen the need in the community grow, not decrease, as many have said.

    “That’s not true. We see evidence of it. We’re still not being able to satisfy the need out there. More people are hurting than ever before,” he said. “People who are hurting today — some of those persons had very, very professional jobs and have lost them from illnesses or other reasons.”

    In case some of those people participate in the packing of the Thanksgiving boxes on Monday, Marino said, Mountaire human resources personnel will be on-site to help anyone in attendance fill out a job application for a job in the company. Additionally, each packed box will include a job application for anyone in need of a job.

    “Over the years, we’ve gotten a number of employees that way. We have people who were once homeless who now have their college degrees,” he said.

    “The problem that many of us see is people say they don’t want to work in a chicken plant. You know, we all have to start somewhere. I have seen people who applied themselves — started second shift, no car, no home — move up to management.

    “I tell you, I cry easily. It brings a tear to my eye. I’ll see them there, the people we’ve helped. They’ll come to me. They’ll hug me. They keep in touch.”

    Mountaire holds similar drives during the Christmas and Easter seasons. For its Thanksgiving for Thousands and Christmas Feed-A-Family campaign, the company partners with the Delaware Community Foundation, and every $10 donated to the drive will help feed another family in need this holiday season.

    Marino said that, although Mountaire has the funds to supply all the food and package the boxes themselves, they purposely ask for the community to get involved, to bring them into the giving spirit of the holiday.

    “It’s everything a holiday season embraces. It’s more than just saying, ‘I gave some candy canes.’ People really get caught up on this. Year after year, people come,” he said. “Could we, Mountaire, go out and buy the food and just distribute it? Sure we could… [But] it wouldn’t get the community involved the way this does.

    “That’s what we’re about,” he emphasized. “We do the right things in the places where we live, work, play and pray. I say that over and over again — ‘where we live, work, play and pray.’”

    Marino said he loves seeing returning faces and new ones each year and is excited for Monday’s packing event.

    “The idea is to get them involved — getting their hands on, freezing a little bit, and really feeling that you’ve contributed. That’s what it is about… To me, that’s the thrill of it all,” he said. “For anybody who is coming out, please introduce yourself to me. We’d love to meet you!”

    Volunteer packers should report to the Mountaire Farms warehouse located at the corner of Hosier Street and Railroad Avenue in Selbyville on Monday at 8:30 a.m. To donate to the effort, contact Roger Marino at (302) 934-3123 or

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    St. Martha’s Episcopal Church will hold the last of this season’s used-book sales on Saturday, Dec. 13. St. Martha’s bake-sale booth will again be part of the event, this time featuring Christmas cookies. The sale will be held at the church, at Maplewood Street and Pennsylvania Avenue in Bethany Beach, from 9 a.m. until 1 p.m.

    Book sale items include a selection of hard and paperback books, children’s books, CDs, DVDs, puzzles and games.

    A variety of traditional holiday cookies, sold by the pound, highlight the baked goodies.

    Those wishing to donate items in good condition for the book sale may leave them in the storage bin on the front porch of the church from Wednesdays through Fridays from 9 a.m. until noon.

    For more information about the sale, call (302) 539-7444.

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    Fran Hasson, a member of the Rehoboth Beach Writers Guild and Eastern Shore Writers Association, has released her second novel, “Mothers and Other Strangers.”

    Like her first book, “Allawe,” the action is set mainly in Fenwick Island and St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands. The same main characters, Vern and Marla Alexander, are involved in a new quest; this one emanates from a family secret and is loaded with guilt, rejection, motherly love, and not-so-motherly love.

    The book is available on and at Biblion in Lewes, Browseabout Books in Rehoboth, Float-ors in Fenwick Island, McCabe’s Gourmet Market in South Bethany and Patti’s Hallmark in Millville, as well as several locations in St. Croix.

    In addition to local appearances, Hasson plans to do a book signing in St. Croix at Christmas Spoken Here, Undercover Books and the Caribbean Art Museum, where the cover painting, done by Crucian artist Gail Widmer, will be on display. The cover and interior text were designed by Bill Gibbons, a member of the Rabbit Gnaw Critique Group, part of the Eastern Shore Writers Association.

    Hasson is a retired teacher who lives in Fenwick Island. She has traveled to more than 40 countries and 25 states but returns to the Delmarva Peninsula and St. Croix to tell her stories. She began the sequel to “Allawe” at the Novels Exploration class taught by Maribeth Fischer and sponsored by Rehoboth Beach Writers Guild.

    While “Mothers and Other Strangers” is based on a true incident, most of the action is completely fictitious. She said she has relied on her colleagues from RBWG and the Rabbit Gnaw for validating the believability of some of the events.

    Local book signings will take place at the Salisbury Chess Tournament on Nov. 22 at the Holly Center in Salisbury, 926 Snow Hill Road, from 3 to 5 p.m.; Float-ors in Fenwick Island on Nov. 30 from noon to 2 p.m.; at the Super Giant in Millville on Dec. 19 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.; and at Biblion in Lewes on Dec. 20 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., and Browseabout Books in Rehoboth Beach on Dec. 21 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

    Contact Fran at for further information.

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    SeaScape Property Management Inc. held a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Nov. 7, in collaboration with the Bethany-Fenwick Area Chamber of Commerce, to celebrate the opening of its new office location in the Millville Town Center.

    Co-owners and brothers Chris and Doug Nichols have been operating the Lewes SeaScape Property Management office for the past 14 years, and opened the new Millville location in October. SeaScape Property Management aims to provide a full range of quality services to their customers, with a hands-on, detail-oriented approach, they said.

    “We have been doing business in the area for years and are happy to now have the additional Millville location to service the existing community, as well as partner with other new communities who are looking for a property manager,” said Chris Nichols, president of SeaScape Property Management.

    They currently manage 46 communities and continue to expand. For more information, contact Chris Nichols,, or Doug Nichols,

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    Mind, Body & Sole, in collaboration with the Bethany-Fenwick Area Chamber of Commerce, held a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Friday, Oct. 24, celebrating the expansion of the current spa in Bethany Beach. Members of the business community and patrons joined them for the expansion party and ribbon-cutting.

    The expansion includes the launch of a new nail room and “Sole to Soul” house pedicure, offering a customized bath salt and salt scrub that patrons create and can even take home the left-overs. For a limited time, the spa will be offering a complimentary manicure with their house pedicure.

    “As far as the expansion goes, we were quickly outgrowing the space that we previously had, due to a high demand for the quality services that we offer in our location. The space next door to ours was available, and I felt led to expand into it. I will continue to let faith guide the way, no matter what comes next!” said Kristina Isom, owner.

    Mind, Body & Sole is a wellness center offering a variety of spa services, located at the Starboard Center in Bethany Beach. For a full list of spa services, visit their website at!our-services/cjdh.

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    In December, people often look back on the past year and celebrate those events which are personal and meaningful to each of them, and the same is true of the artists of Gallery One in Ocean View, which is holding its new show, “Celebration,” from Dec. 2 through Jan. 4, 2015.

    Celebrating joy — head thrown back, arms outstretched, feet planted firmly on the earth — is Peggy Warfield’s acrylic abstract, called “Joyfulness.” Aubré Duncan’s watercolor, “Celebration,” depicts a colorful beach cottage, an American flag hanging from the porch and twirls and stars exploding in a blue sky.

    Rina Thaler’s mixed-media work, “A Great Miracle,” depicts the celebration of Hanukkah. A blue menorah and an orange dreidel dominate the space. “Both are symbols of the miracle which occurred when one night’s worth of oil burned in the temple’s candelabra for eight nights — a great miracle happened there.”

    Using a palette of blues and oranges, Joyce Condry depicts a scene titled “Ladies Nite.” Condry said, “Good friends, great conversation and half-price drinks. What could be better?”

    Sonia Hunt’s watercolor is designed to be spare and dramatic. Against the stillness of a dark background, the pianist sits at a piano and plays for the “Celebration” of… a wedding, a funeral, a picnic, a parade or just for the love of a song.

    The purity of a pot of white calla lilies, the gleam of an old, worn wooden door of an ancient Peruvian church and the wash of light illuminating the tableau, inspired Dale Sheldon to paint “Wedding Flowers,” in which the calla lily represents love and affection.

    Laura Hickman chose pastels in a variety of cool blues for “Winter Light.” She says, “The winter months bring shorter days, but … the sun rewards us with the most spectacular, brilliantly angled light that beckons us to bundle up and celebrate the season with a brisk walk.”

    With masterful strokes, Lesley McCaskill, in her painting “Water Play,” captures a playful shooting water fountain with three children frolicking and joyfully finding relief from the heat of a summer’s day.

    This is a small sampling of the work to be seen in this show. The public is being invited to view the show and see more work by each of the gallery artists, as well as to visit the special display of fine crafts by local artisans.

    Visit the website at for more information on Gallery One. The website has 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 4 p.m. The Gallery is located at 32 Atlantic Avenue in Ocean View. Call (302) 537-5055.

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    For the second year, the Indian River Band Boosters are raffling off a “Wreath of Wealth,” full of gift cards, to raise money for the upcoming spring band trip.

    “If we sell all the tickets — there are 2,000 tickets available at $5 each — we’ll raise $10,000,” said Brian Baull, president of the IRHS Band Boosters. “That’ll pretty much pay for one of the three buses we’ll take to go down to Florida.”

    The drawing will be held on Dec. 19, at the IRHS Holiday Concert. Those who purchased raffle tickets do not need to be present to win.

    “People can get up with their friends and family from out of the area, because many of the places that we have gift cards for,” said Baull, “we’ll mail them to anyone who wants to buy them… The gentleman who won last year, he said, ‘I’m just going to split them up among my family members.’ It would be great to use for Christmas presents.”

    The annual band trip is a highlight for approximately 120 students who participate in band. Students get to travel by bus and perform for judges and have a few days of sightseeing and activities. This year, the students will travel to Disney World.

    “Every four years we take the trip; it’s the most expensive one we pay for,” explained Baull. “It’s kind of a payoff for them for their hard work throughout the year, doing football games and parades, marching out in the cold and rain sometimes. Near the end of the school year, it’s an opportunity for them to enjoy a little camaraderie.

    “They also get a chance to march while they’re there. We’ll take the uniforms down, and they’ll actually march in one of the parades and perform.”

    Baull said that, in the last four years, as the band competed in competitions in Boston, Myrtle Beach and Atlanta, they received superior rankings.

    Currently, the wreath is worth approximately $650, and the Band Boosters are still soliciting donations to add to that value. The gift cards currently include certificates from Target, Walmart, McDonald’s, Walgreen’s, All Out Sports and more.

    “The goal, ultimately, would be to get it as close to $1,000 before the drawing,” said Baull. “We really want to make it worth a lot of money.

    “Everybody has been really good about donating. We’re only looking for a minimum donation of about $25, but if we get more from someone we’ll certainly appreciate that.”

    Other fundraisers for the trip include the annual band discount cards offering deals at local businesses and dine-and-donate nights at area restaurants.

    “The biggest thing we do every year is our bingo fundraiser, which will be in March 2015,” he said.

    Baull said he hopes those in the community will purchase the raffle tickets and help support the band students.

    “You have really good odds of winning — you just have to have a ticket to win,” he said. “Please purchase a ticket… and know it’s going to help a bunch of really hardworking kids go down to Disney World this year.”

    Those interested in purchasing tickets may call (302) 321-9020 or email

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    Scott Kammerer, president and CEO of SoDel Concepts, announced this week the promotion of Ronnie Burkle, a SoDel Concepts employee since 2011, to the position of corporate chef. SoDel Concepts owns and operates eight restaurants along the Delaware coast, as well as Plate Catering and Big Thunder Roadside Kitchen, a food and catering truck.

    Burkle will be working under Doug Ruley, who has worked as corporate chef at the Rehoboth Beach-based restaurant group since 2012.

    “Ronnie has been a key employee for us,” said Kammerer. “He’s done so much to advance our company through his work at Catch 54 and NorthEast Seafood Kitchen, and he is just the nicest person you’ll ever meet.”

    Burkle, who grew up outside Philadelphia, got into cooking at an early age.

    “My mother’s side of the family is Italian, and my father’s side is German,” he said. “My grandfather was a baker.”

    At 14, he got a job at the Cottage Café in Bethany Beach, which was near the family’s vacation home in Sea Colony.

    “I loved every minute of it,” said Burkle, who expedited and handled daytime prep. The job led to a series of restaurant positions in Bethany and Rehoboth, as well as jobs back home in the Philadelphia area.

    While studying at the Art Institute of Philadelphia, he met Chef Cyrus Keefer, who at that time was co-owner of Dish in Rehoboth Beach, which has since closed. The two, who sat next to each other at orientation, struck up a friendship. Keefer gave Burkle a job and later introduced him to the late Matt Haley, founder of SoDel Concepts.

    Burkle continued working in Pennsylvania during the school year and at the beach come summer until he graduated college and moved to the beach full-time. He started with SoDel Concepts as a sous chef at Catch 54 in Fenwick Island, and while that restaurant was under renovation after a fire, he worked at NorthEast Seafood Kitchen in Ocean View and Lupo di Mare in Rehoboth Beach — all SoDel Concepts restaurants.

    Burkle was the chef at NorthEast Seafood Kitchen before his promotion, which puts him in charge of the kitchens at Catch 54, Papa Grande’s Costal Taqueria — both in Fenwick Island — Matt’s Fish Camp in Bethany Beach, NorthEast Seafood Kitchen and Big Thunder Roadside Kitchen.

    “It’s a huge responsibility that I enjoy very much,” he said. “I love being a part of SoDel Concepts.”

    “Ronnie is another example of what SoDel is all about: recruiting bright, young people and providing them with an opportunity to grow,” said Kammerer.

    Burkle has been named Best Chef in Sussex County by Coastal Style magazine. In April, Burkle will join Ruley in Washington, D.C., for the Heart’s Delight Wine Tasting & Auction, a four-day celebration of food and wine featuring master winemakers and culinary stars. He lives in Millville with his wife and two sons.

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    A local family is seeking help from the community after the sudden and unexpected death of an Ocean View woman last month.

    SiebertSiebertDorthea “Dottie” Siebert, an Ocean View resident, passed away at the age of 54 on Oct. 21, leaving behind an extended family including her parents, Edward and Maryjane Capp, and her children and grandchildren, Catrina Siebert, Megan McNeely, Stacy Siebert, Victor Greenwalt, Kaela Siebert, Ji’yehr Turnage and Isabelle McNeely.

    “We’ve been talking a lot about her and her memory… She was very popular with our friends. Everyone always called her ‘Miss D.’ They wanted to hang out with her, just as much with us,” said Megan McNeely, one of Siebert’s daughters.

    Siebert was active in Mariner’s Bethel United Methodist Church, teaching Sunday school for the fourth- and fifth-graders, and led the kids’ church.

    McNeely said that, due to a hernia surgery her mother had five years ago, her liver suffered scarring.

    “She recovered well from that, but we didn’t realize how much damage had been done. After that, her liver was running at a smaller capacity.”

    Then, on the morning of Oct. 11, after feeling ill for two days, Siebert went to Beebe Medical Center, where she learned her liver was failing.

    “What happens when the liver starts failing is that it starts taking other things with it. So her kidneys started to have issues, as well,” explained McNeely.

    Three days later, Siebert was airlifted to the University of Maryland Medical Center in Baltimore, placed on transplant lists and began dialysis.

    “It was a very quick-moving progression of things that happened. We were very hopeful that she would get a transplant in time but, unfortunately, we just didn’t get one.”

    McNeely said the quick progression of her mother’s illness was a “rollercoaster.”

    “It happened very suddenly… She went in on the 11th and passed on Tuesday the 21st… Within the span of 10 days, we went from having a healthy mom to not having a mom.

    “The worst part about it is, after going through that rollercoaster, the first thing that comes up is the funeral costs, and the children she still has and all those future things you hadn’t been thinking of.”

    Following the passing of their mother, Siebert’s children created a Give Forward fundraising page, with the hopes of raising $30,000 to help pay for funeral costs, as well as helping support her young children.

    “One of the goals of the fundraising — initially, we started looking at medical costs, but as it switched to her passing, we were looking more to something that would help,” explained McNeely. “We want to make sure the children have positive memories.”

    So far, the family has received $3,520 in donations.

    “Mariner’s Bethel has been beyond generous. They’ve cooked meals for the family. A parish member donated her plot for the funeral. They’ve been super-generous,” said McNeely. “We’ve definitely had an outpouring of generosity.”

    In remembering her mother, McNeely said Siebert loved music, dancing and gardening.

    “She wasn’t fussy. She was simple. She’d take us to the beach with just a towel and nothing else, and we would still have a blast. We would take simple trips but she would make them exciting and fun, so we would never really notice that we weren’t going to Disney World or those types of places.

    “She loved being home. She was amazing at cooking — she was a vegetarian but made the best chicken soup in the world. She wouldn’t eat it, but she would make it,” said McNeely with a laugh. “She definitely instilled in us hard work.”

    McNeely said that her mother was a single mom in the early part of raising her eldest three children and instilled in them the importance of hard work and time spent with family.

    “Giving back was big. She was always — even though we didn’t have a ton — she’d still have our friends over and their family over, or send out meals, loan people money if they needed it. After her passing, I learned that she did even more than I had ever really realized. She gave and gave, regardless of her own personal position was.”

    Over the holiday season, McNeely said, the family hopes to take Siebert’s youngest children to Ocean City’s Winterfest of Lights, and other holiday happenings, just as she would have done.

    “The worst part is knowing the kids won’t get to experience those things… All those experiences, they’re going to miss out on,” she said. “We’re all a family unit… We’re working on finding a new normal, whatever that might be.”

    To donate to the fund, visit Donations may also be made to the Dorothea Siebert Memorial Fund by visiting any Wells Fargo branch.

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    Coastal Point • Laura Walter:  Indian River High School’s JROTC cadets present colors.Coastal Point • Laura Walter: Indian River High School’s JROTC cadets present colors.Most students at Indian River High School aren’t old enough to join the armed forces. But that doesn’t mean the Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps (JROTC) can’t celebrate the ideals and 239th birthday of the United States Marine Corps.

    “It’s honoring the Marines and the way they celebrate their founding. Without them, we wouldn’t have this,” said sophomore Kayla Emerson.

    The U.S. Marine Corps was founded Nov. 10, 1775. Every year, JROTC cadets stand tall at the annual school dinner celebration, hosted with friends and family, this time on Nov. 13.

    Those families are “integral to our success” — fundraising, driving students, cleaning uniforms and much more, said instructor Maj. Frank Ryman (Ret.).

    “It’s fun giving them a taste of what we do every day at school and sharing fellowship with them,” Emerson said.

    Now dressed in camouflage and taking a leadership class, she joined JROTC because she was impressed by a middle-school recruitment day. But she stayed because of “the support from everybody. And you get really close to Gunny and Major,” she said of instructors Lester “Gunny” James and Ryman.

    “It’s like a big family,” said Emerson. “Everybody says it.”

    “The Marine Corps itself is a close-knit family,” Ryman echoed.

    Special guest and former state legislator George H. Bunting spoke about his service in Vietnam. Despite having his own Purple Heart and Bronze Star, the former Marine talked only about the men who served with him.

    After Bunting was sent home from Vietnam, of his four closest friends, one died there, another later suffered a line-of-duty police death, a third died of cancer possibly caused by Agent Orange chemical warfare, and the fourth currently lives disabled.

    “Believe me, you young cadets, it’s so much about God and country, but also about the man next to you,” Bunting said.

    Bunting was invited to join in the traditional cake ceremony, in which the oldest cadet serves cake to the youngest.

    “That’s how experience is handed down,” Ryman said. It’s “symbolic” of teaching young Marines. That includes military expertise, as well as the Corps’ own history, customs and traditions.

    “It’s a good time. What you observed tonight hasn’t changed since the early 1900s,” Ryman emphasized. The birthday celebrates 239 years of protecting the American people, “keeping the wolf at bay, and protecting the rights of all Americans.”

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    The crew at the Clear Space Theatre Company of Rehoboth Beach is busy putting the finishing touches on costumes, sets and dances for their holiday musical “She Loves Me.”

    “After a full decade of producing ‘Scrooge,’ we’ve finally let dear old Uncle Ebenezer take a year or two off!” said Clear Space Artistic Director Doug Yetter, who played Scrooge for the past five years. “The vast majority of ‘She Loves Me’ takes place at Christmas and offers a glimpse into the lives of the shop workers dealing with holiday shoppers and the two lead characters falling in love at Christmas. Who can resist that kind of romance?”

    The plot of the show was used in three separate films: the 1940 James Stewart/Margaret Sullivan film “The Shop Around the Corner,” the 1949 MGM musical “In the Good Old Summertime” starring Judy Garland and Van Johnson, and in 1998 in the film “You’ve Got Mail” featuring Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan.

    The 1963 musical, written by Jerry Bock and Sheldon Harnick — who went on to write “Fiddler on the Roof” the next season — remains one of the most popular and frequently-revived shows in regional theaters due to the caliber of the writing and the intimate nature of the piece, Yetter said.

    The show is extremely popular with actors, as well, he noted, and the Clear Space production has attracted performers from far and wide. The cast features New Jersey resident Peter Kane as “Georg,” his wife, Sarah Joy Kane, as “Ilona,” Laura Whittenberger of Ellicott City, Md., as “Amalia,” Matt Lewis of Newark, Md., as “Kodaly,” Mitchel Troescher of Frankford as “Keller,” Dan Carney of Ocean View as “Sipos,” ensemble members Dara Parsons of Delmar, Md., and Meghan Hayward of Dover, as well as locals Max Dick, Peyton Lynch, Abby Chesney, Marian Sunnergren, Devon Lynch, Mary O’Neill and Carolyn Robinson.

    The show is directed by Clear Space Company Manager David Button, with choreography by Shondelle Graulich and music direction by Melanie Bradley.

    “She Loves Me” is set to open Friday, Nov. 28, with a special curtain time of 7:30 p.m. to allow patrons to attend the lighting of the Rehoboth Beach Christmas Tree and continue the start of the season with the holiday musical. The production continues through Sunday, Dec. 14, with shows on Fridays and Saturdays at 7 p.m. and Sunday matinees at 3 p.m. Call Melody in the box office at (302) 227-2270 or buy tickets online at

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    Coastal Point • Submitted : Artist Ellen Rice works on one of the new oil paintings she is creating for debut at the beginning of the SouthEastern Delaware Artists Studio Tour on Friday and Saturday of Thanksgiving weekend. ‘Quiet Evening’ will premiere in print at preview prices as part of the artist’s tradition of giving a special ‘Thanksgiving Thank You’ gift to her collectors and new patrons on the tour.Coastal Point • Submitted : Artist Ellen Rice works on one of the new oil paintings she is creating for debut at the beginning of the SouthEastern Delaware Artists Studio Tour on Friday and Saturday of Thanksgiving weekend. ‘Quiet Evening’ will premiere in print at preview prices as part of the artist’s tradition of giving a special ‘Thanksgiving Thank You’ gift to her collectors and new patrons on the tour.The public is being invited to enjoy premiering paintings and prints, seasonal music, refreshments and holiday cheer at the Ellen Rice Gallery this Friday and Saturday, Nov. 28 and 29, when Rice opens her doors for her 20th annual Studio Tour Open House at 10 a.m. each day.

    Rice will kick off her open house with the preview-priced print debuts of “scenes whose beauty inspires awe” from Lewes to Fenwick at her Ocean View gallery this Thanksgiving weekend.

    “Sometimes people ask me why I paint. It depends on the subject. When it’s nature, I think, more than anything, it’s that I want to share transient moments that are so beautiful they fill me with a sense of vibrant gratitude that’s difficult to explain. This region, my home, is a constant source of awe. When I successfully capture one of these moments in paint, I think people viewing them feel that awe.”

    Kicking off her tour, Rice will debut and release prints of “Quiet Evening,” a glowing view of Indian River Bay at sunset; and “The Golden Glow of a Late Summer Day” in Rehoboth Beach; and she’ll preview a painting that revisits a popular scene from her early life on the shores of Lewes, which will be in print Jan. 2.

    She’ll also bring out a handful of in-progress scenes between Bethany and Fenwick and preview a new edition in her ongoing “Strength of Woman” series.

    As part of her tour tradition, Rice will offer her collectors and new patrons on the tour a “Thanksgiving Thank You” gift of $50 off every one of her more than 100 limited-edition s/n giclée prints priced at $250 or more, including her debuting works. Those who can’t make it to the tour can receive the same $50 off by calling or visiting the gallery through 4 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 7.

    “My Thanksgiving gift this year is much broader in scope than in past years,” said Rice. “I’m filled with gratitude for the continued support of patrons and corporations commissioning me to paint their families, pets and private beach views this year and all those who’ve come in the gallery to purchase yet another of my prints for their collections at home and in their offices — especially in light of the road construction this year.”

    Rice noted that there is no road construction scheduled from Thanksgiving Day through Tuesday, Dec. 2.

    “I’m hoping this larger gift makes it easier for more people to bring my work into their homes and enjoy the beauty that inspires me to paint.”

    Rice, voted “One of Delaware’s Most Collectible Shore Artists” several years ago, has lived on the Delaware coast since 1962, the last 20 years on the edge of the James Farm Ecological Preserve in Ocean View, and has been painting professionally since the 1970s. She opened the Ellen Rice Gallery in 1999 “to offer a quiet, peaceful environment where people could come in, relax and enjoy the beauty of her inspirations and the creations of numerous artisans whose work she represents,” now including SEDAST tour artists Kim Doughty-Cavagnaro and Justin Cavagnaro.

    Rice is one of the original members of the SouthEastern Delaware Artists Studio Tour (SEDAST), which began in 1994 and is one of the longest-running art studio tours in the country.

    This year, the tour features 13 artists and artisans working in paint, wood, blown glass and jewelry materials and counts among its members several painters whose works are collected on a national and international basis. Brochures to the other studios on the free, self-guided event are available at Rice’s gallery and other locations throughout the region.

    The Ellen Rice Gallery is located at 103 Atlantic Avenue in Ocean View, in the west end of the old Country Wicker building. For more information, call the gallery at (302) 539-3405 or visit

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    Coastal Point • Maria Counts­ : The group of kayaking friends pose for a photos on New Year’s Day, Jan. 1, 2011, at the Exercise Like the Eskimos event in Bethany. From left, Buz Taylor, Bob Parsons, Jill Taylor, Kathy Hardin and John Dowling.Coastal Point • Maria Counts­ : The group of kayaking friends pose for a photos on New Year’s Day, Jan. 1, 2011, at the Exercise Like the Eskimos event in Bethany. From left, Buz Taylor, Bob Parsons, Jill Taylor, Kathy Hardin and John Dowling.This Thanksgiving, Bethany Beach resident Bob Parsons has a lot to be thankful for. In August, Parsons — a lifelong water lover — was kayaking in the Assateague National Seashore park with a group of seasoned kayakers when, through a series of events, he died and was later miraculously brought back to life.

    “We’ve been kayaking together for last decade,” said John Dowling, who was kayaking with Parsons that day. “A group of five of us go down there because the surf is better. … There was a high-surf warning when we drove into the park. When we got there, it didn’t look any worse than normal. The sets of waves were a little more frequent, but they didn’t look any higher or stronger than they normally do.”

    The group consisted of Parsons, Dowling, Kathy Hardin, and Buz and Jill Taylor. That day, there was a small hurricane far offshore, which added a little oomph to the waves.

    “It was a beautiful sunny day, but it was adding a little more to the waves, which frankly we were tickled with,” said Buz Taylor. “We jumped in and were having a big old time.”

    Taylor said that day was different from most kayaking ventures the group had taken previously, as both he and Parsons wore their life vests.

    “Jill, Kathy, and usually John, wear life vests,” he said. “Bob and I have never worn life vests. That might sound kind of stupid, but the reason we don’t is when the surf is really big and you crash, you go down deep, wait for the explosion to go by so you don’t get hit by your boat and then you go back up. … But the day of the episode we wore our vests,”

    Following the group’s arrival around 9:30 a.m., they spent the morning in the water and later took a break for lunch.

    “We had all been out kayaking in the morning and taken really good rides. We took a break for lunch, had sandwiches, Gatorade and water, then went back out,” recalled Parsons.

    But after a wave moved Parsons to jump out of his kayak to avoid a tumble, he found he was unable to get back in.

    “You don’t get tired riding the waves — you get worn out by getting the boat back out to where you can ride the waves,” he explained. “On my last ride, I didn’t. I got up, up, up, saw that the wave was going to break, and I started going backwards, which meant the boat was going to turn sideways and then tumble.

    “I didn’t want to be in it when it did, so I jumped out. I was fine and started to make my way in… I got in where the boat was and tried to get in it, and I couldn’t. I just physically could not get up there.”

    Taylor said he noticed Parsons in the water, on his back, but wasn’t concerned, because he had seen Parsons do the same without his vest on. It was only after his wife, Jill, Hardin, Dowling and Matt Cattino — a paddleboarder the group had befriended earlier in the day — converged on Parsons that he realized something was amiss.

    “Then, all of a sudden Jill took off — not normal speed — and picked up a huge wave rode it to shore, with her taking off,” he said. “That was like an alarm.”

    Taylor headed over to Parsons, who told him he was just fatigued and needed a moment to rest. The current was beginning to move the group as Taylor was trying to get Parsons onto his kayak.

    “I’m just trying to keep it lighthearted,” said Taylor. “‘Oh Bob, we been in rougher stuff than this.’ Because you could tell he was in trouble at that point.”

    “Anytime I got in close to help, I would catch a wave… That’s what was making it pretty challenging to move him,” said Dowling, who eventually was pushed to shore by a wave.

    Hardin was out of her kayak at that point, hoping to have better leverage to get Parsons out of the water.

    “At that point, Matt said, ‘I think this guy’s in trouble. Let’s try to get him on the beach.’ That’s the last thing I remember, until I woke up in the hospital,” recalled Parsons.

    Taylor had some rope lashed to the front of his kayak, which Parsons had latched onto. Then Taylor was tossed from his kayak by a wave.

    “At that point, all I could do was hold Bob by the collar of the back of his vest,” he said.

    “It was amazing,” said Hardin. “Buz literally had the back of Bob’s jacket and was holding his head up out of the water.”

    Then, Parsons stopped breathing.

    “His color was ashen,” recalled Taylor. “There was a point where he stopped breathing, he stopped talking. Then we realized we were really in trouble.”

    Following two attempts from surfers to aid the group, they were finally able to touch the bottom, and a bystander on the beach helped move Parsons to shore.

    “Right then, Bob just locked up like wood or stone,” said Taylor. “He went rigid; he arched his head back; his eyes rolled up.”

    “But he was still holding onto that rope,” added Hardin. “I’d never been more happy in my life to touch sand.”

    Once on shore, Taylor was unable to find Parsons’ pulse or detect him breathing, so he and Dowling began CPR.

    “By then he was charcoal gray... It was just a horrible sight. Without saying it, I thought in my heart and in my mind — I thought he was dead. I thought we had lost Bob,” said Taylor.

    “He was purple on the beach. I thought he was dead,” added Dowling.

    Then, the group was approached by a woman who had also signaled her husband in from surfing to aid them.

    “A woman we later found out was a nurse signaled her husband, who was surfing. He came in and announced that he was a doctor and took over CPR. Then, an anesthesiologist came over. Those two went to work on him, and they saved him,” said Dowling.

    As the men continued compressions on Parsons, ambulance sirens were audible.

    “Two things that we never do happened,” said Taylor. “I never wear a vest; we never bring cell phones. That day we had a cell phone.”

    Dowling praised Jill Taylor for responding to the situation quickly and going ashore to call 911.

    “The whole time we were trying to get him in, 911 was already notified. Once we got to the beach, they got to him very quickly, because she had the presence of mind to call,” he said.

    A state park 4-by-4 Gator vehicle with a stabilization board arrived on the scene, along with an automated external defibrillator. After some initial trouble getting contact, they were able to shock Parsons, before transferring him to the board and taking off to the ambulance.

    “The doctor jumps on the gurney and keeps CPR going as they start to drive off to get Bob to the ambulance,” recalled Taylor. “This is literally taking place at water’s edge. The water is lapping up at Bob’s feet.”

    Due to the extra weight of multiple people on the vehicle, it got stuck in the sand a number of times during its drive off the beach.

    “People would just dive in — push and shove and lift. People all the way down the beach just helped,” said Hardin. “It was unbelievable.”

    “It was incredible,” added Dowling. “The whole thing was pretty miraculous. Everyone one the beach was helping… It was just an incredible response. People on the beach helped the group gather their things so they could leave quickly to get to the hospital. It was amazing how helpful the people were.”

    Following Parsons being transported to Atlantic General Hospital in Berlin, Md., the doctor who had performed CPR on Parsons tried to comfort Jill Taylor.

    “She was just beside herself. It was very emotional,” said Buz Taylor. “The doctor who had been doing CPR the whole way said, ‘I did have a pulse.’ It was like a ray of hope.

    “Jill was so distraught, the doctor gave her a big hug and then started praying with her. It was so touching… Then he drives all the way back with Jill, praying the whole way.”

    Once they rejoined the group, the doctor and other beachgoers helped them gather and carry their things.

    “We had six kayaks, paddles, bags — all this stuff. I didn’t carry a thing. In fact, he wouldn’t let me carry anything,” said Hardin. “We didn’t know a soul but got, ‘What can we help you with?’”

    As they were about to leave the parking lot, Taylor said a man tapped on his window.

    “An older fellow, probably in his 80s, and says, ‘What’s your friend’s name?’ And I said, ‘Bob.’ He said, ‘I want to make sure he’s on the prayer list at our church.’”

    When they arrived to the hospital, due to privacy laws, they were not provided with any information about Parsons’ condition but instead told to go to a waiting room.

    “We were just worried that it was the worst, because they weren’t giving us anything to hang any hope on,” said Buz Taylor.

    Parsons’ wife, Jan, had been playing golf when the incident occurred and arrived at the hospital shortly after the group.

    “When Jan got there, she was told to wait with us. It seems like forever, but it was probably five minutes later the doctor came in,” said Buz Taylor. “He said, ‘Well, when somebody drowns like this…’ I said, ‘He didn’t drown. I was holding him above the water!’ He said, ‘Well, we pumped a lot of water out of him. We call that drowning.’

    “Their official diagnosis was that he drowned and because he drowned, his heart stopped.”

    Parsons was hooked up to a plethora of equipment but was fighting it. Taylor said the hospital personnel slowly took him off oxygen to see how he responded. His oxygen level remained stable.

    “So they pulled the tubes out, and he settled right down,” said Taylor. “They were amazed by how quickly he was making progress.”

    Once he was settled into an intensive care room, Parsons’ wife, who thought he was unconscious, spoke to him.

    “She said something to him, like, “Well, are you a sight for sore eyes.’ And Bob kind of raised up his arm and made a fist,” Taylor said. “When she came out and reported that, we were all real happy.”

    The group decided to let Parsons rest at the hospital, knowing that he was in good hands. Later that evening, Jan Parsons requested they return.

    “We go in, and there’s Bob, sitting up in bed,” said Taylor.

    “And he was pink!” added Hardin.

    “I walked through the door, and he says, ‘Well, it’s nice of you to come for a visit.’ I said, ‘I don’t know whether to kiss you or to punch you in the face. You scared us have to death!’

    “It was Bob, you know. It was nothing short of miraculous.”

    Parsons was observed for two days prior to his release from the hospital. From all of the medical treatment, Parsons said, he had a fractured sternum and soreness in his chest.

    “There was sand in my sputum… Every time I coughed, it hurt like the dickens. The pain gave way to some discomfort, and it lessened,” said Parsons.

    Parsons said that, in looking back at the experience, he believes the thing that went wrong was he didn’t know he was worn out.

    “As I reflect back on it, not being able to get into the boat — I didn’t know that I was as done in as I was.”

    In the future, they said, everyone in the kayak group will be wearing their life vests when they go out into the water. They also plan to have a towing system in place on their kayaks, just in case a similar incident was to occur in the future.

    Parsons and his friends said they are thankful for the lifesaving help of the unknown citizens who were on the beach that day and hope to one day thank them.

    “The surfer doctor and his nurse wife, as well as the anesthesiologist — we don’t know who they are,” said Taylor. “It just kills us that we had three angels there and we don’t know who they are.

    “We would love to thank the angels that were there. We would love to know who you are so we can say, ‘Thank you.’”

    Buz Taylor added that they were also thankful for Cattino’s help in trying to get Parsons to shore.

    “He was a huge part of getting Bobby to the beach. If it wasn’t a group effort, we never would’ve made it.”

    How people reached out to help the group in need, Taylor said, was an example of “the best of America.”

    “It was a bad day and a wonderful day,” he said. “It was a bad day because we nearly lost Bobby and we were scared us all to death. But it was a wonderful day, because you saw what makes America a wonderful place. Everybody doing everything they could and then some — and putting themselves in harm’s way to get Bobby to shore…

    “It was a miracle from start to finish. So much had to happen just right — not only for Bob to live but for Bob to be normal.”

    Buz Taylor told the story at church the following Sunday. Parsons has a copy of it.

    “He stood up and gave his rendition of what had happened… At the end, after church, one of the members said to him, ‘You know what Bob’s experience proves, don’t you? It just proves you can’t get to heaven in a kayak,’” said Parsons with a chuckle.

    The experience did not deter Parsons from returning to the water, though. He went swimming within a week after the incident.

    Parsons added he was thankful for the help of all of those involved in saving his life that Thursday afternoon. As the stars were perfectly aligned, Parsons said, there must be a reason he’s still alive after such an event.

    “When I heard the description of what went on and what was in place, the timing of everything… I have a friend who says there are no coincidences. There is a plan, and God makes that plan,” said Parsons. “I find it hard to believe that God would pay attention to Bob Parsons, but to have that level of detail set up — somebody did, something did.

    “God must’ve kept me around because he has more things for me to do. It’s pretty clear I’m still around for some reason.”

    0 0

    As you begin to prepare for the upcoming holiday season for your family, don’t forget your pets. I’m not just talking about buying holiday gifts for your pet — but don’t forget that either. I’m talking this time about taking the necessary precautions to avoid holiday disasters where your pets are concerned.

    The first thing you need to think about is will you need to board your pet or hire a holiday pet-sitter. If you have not made those arrangements, stop reading this and go make those arrangements immediately. Your favorite boarding kennel or pet-sitter may already be booked to maximum capacity already.

    OK, now that you have taken care of that, start considering other arrangements you may need to make for your pet. If you will be hosting holiday gatherings, you may want to take into consideration how all those people in your home will affect them. Some well-socialized dogs still have difficulty when there are unusually large amounts of people in your home.

    You may wish to board your dog during the party, or you may consider hiring a neighborhood youth (already familiar with your pet) to come “dog-sit” in a separate area of your home during the party. That area would need to have access to the yard in case your dog needs “use of the facilities” during the party.

    Arm the youth with toys and treats and games to play with the family dog. Also have a secure collar or harness and a sturdy leash available. Have a water bowl with extra water in that area of the home also. If possible, have the youth come over for a trial pet-sitting for an hour or so several days prior to your scheduled gathering. This way you can iron out any special needs that you may not have anticipated.

    Also, cats often do not like strangers in their home. And you cat owners know that, if you own a cat, it’s not your home anymore — it is the cat’s home that you now live in. So you need to take precautions — especially for your cat’s wellbeing and safety.

    Cats will often try to escape when too many people start entering their environment, and with lots of strangers to your home, they may think that it is OK to let your cat outside. I recommend placing your cat into a room, such as a bedroom, den, office, etc., that will not be used during your party.

    Set up a litter box, water and food bowl in the room several days prior to the gathering. Show these to your cat so your cat gets used to them being there. Also, buy a few new toys and maybe some special treats your cat really loves.

    A few hours before the party, place your cat in the room. Leave a lamp lit in the room. Make sure the food and water are freshly filled. Scatter the new toys and treats around the room. Then close the door (and, if possible, lock the door but make sure you have a key).

    Place a sign on the outside of the door “Keep out — Do not open,” or something like that. You may even want to put a note stating that you do not want to have the door opened due to your cat being locked inside and you do not want it accidentally escaping.

    After the party is over and all of your guests have left, give your cat some kind of super-special treat or a can of its favorite food as a reward for staying locked in the room.

    Next comes the pet-proofing your home for the holidays.

    First, cats: Look out for anything shiny, crinkly sounding, things dangling or hanging, and more. Think of what might interest your cat and then use caution. Cats will probably try to climb your Christmas tree, so be careful of that. Also, cats will likely try to bat at your ornaments hanging from the tree, so use caution that you do not put any valuable ornaments down on the lower branches where your cat may damage them.

    Also, cats like to play with curly ribbons and bows; however, these are not safe for your cats if they happen to ingest them. They can cause blockages, requiring surgery or worse. Lit candles, with their flickering flames, also seem to interest kitties, so do not leave burning candles unattended.

    Cats also like to be up high, so watch where you place your most cherished decorations. Do not place them near the edges, where a cat might easily push them crashing to the floor. You may even considering using some double-faced tape or other such items to secure your decorations.

    Now, let’s take a look at a few items of caution in regards to your dog during the holidays: Candy is always a big one, especially chocolate. Always keep candy securely out of your dog’s reach. Candy, chocolate, caffeine and alcohol can — best case — make your dog sick; and, worst case, it can kill them.

    All other holiday food is also very tempting for your favorite pooches, so be careful where you place your food. Many dogs also like to “open gifts early.” Sometimes it is the smell of the contents; sometimes it’s the curly ribbons; sometimes it’s just the attention we humans pay to the packages; but whatever the reason, dogs can also ingest the paper or ribbons or contents, causing them ill effects.

    Dogs can also escape out the door during gatherings, parties or just when the delivery person drops off food or packages. Dogs also can knock over trees, decorations and more.

    Besides watching out that your pets don’t eat the candy, drink the alcohol, steal the turkey, destroy your tree and other holiday decorations, there are also some holiday plants that can be poisonous to your pets. The beautiful poinsettias, glorious holly berries and romantic mistletoe are all dangerous for our pets.

    There are many other dangers for your pets, especially during the holidays, but with attentiveness and proper supervision, pets and humans alike can have a wonderful and joyous holiday season.

    Cheryl Loveland is a dog groomer, pet-sitter, dog trainer and fosterer for many unwanted animals. She does rescue work for all types of animals and has owned or fostered most types of domestic animals and many wild ones. She currently resides with her bloodhound, which she has shown in conformation and is currently training for search-and-rescue work. Also residing with her are a bichon frisée, two cats and two birds. She welcomes comments, questions and suggestions for future articles at Remember, she is not an expert: she offers her opinions and suggestions from her experience and research.

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