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    Lord Baltimore Elementary School parents got a now-familiar kind of phone call in late November. Their children would be getting a new principal — their third in less than two full school years.

    Pamela Webb is coming from East Millsboro Elementary School to finish the school year in a spot vacated by Ann Marie Logullo.

    “For personal reasons, Ann Marie Logullo has stepped away from the principal’s position … and requested a transfer to another administrative position,” wrote Superintendent Susan Bunting. “The Board of Education has placed Mrs. Logullo in the district’s only vacant administrative position, which is the assistant head of school at the G.W. Carver Academy in Frankford.”

    Webb stepped into her new role on Dec. 1.

    “It is a huge honor to be named principal at Lord Baltimore. I feel that this is — in a sense — a homecoming experience for me,” Webb said.

    A Dagsboro resident, Webb attended Lord Baltimore herself and later sent her own children there.

    “In her 16 years with the Indian River School District, Mrs. Webb has proven to be a gifted teacher and administrator,” Bunting wrote. “Prior to becoming an assistant principal at East Millsboro, she spent 13 years as a teacher at Lord Baltimore Elementary School. This makes her uniquely qualified to fill that school’s principal’s position.

    “Her familiarity with the LB staff and community should make for a smooth transition in the coming weeks. Parents should have every confidence in Mrs. Webb’s ability to guide Lord Baltimore through the remainder of this school year and beyond.”

    “This … is a huge honor for me to come home and experience Lord Baltimore again as a leader and work with such a talented staff,” Webb said.

    On just her second day, Webb said her goals are “just to help each child reach their fullest potential and also encourage the staff to work to their fullest and empower them to be the best they can be. They certainly are a talented group.”

    A former assistant principal at Southern Delaware School of the Arts, Logullo first came to LB from as temporary assistant principal when the previous principal and assistant were moved in mid-January 2014. She was made acting principal a month later. Logullo was subsequently named as the school’s principal for the 2014-2015 school year, which started in September.

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    The Bethany Area Community Christmas Gift Giving Outreach was created in hopes of reaching as many lower Sussex County families in need as possible this holiday season.

    “We’re going to reach as many as we can. … There’s no reason why anyone should go without,” said coordinator Pat Duchesne.

    Families in need are being interviewed and chosen by Pyle State Service Center, as well as other agencies in the area, and each will receive Christmas gifts donated by the community. Duchesne said the project will also reach to seniors and special-needs students.

    In participating area stores, Christmas trees are decorated with tags requesting one item that community members can pledge to purchase and return to the store, unwrapped, by Dec. 13.

    “There are three cards for each child,” explained Duchesne.

    The goal, she said, is for each child younger than 18 to get a $25 gift card for clothes, special fun items on their wish list and a coat. Additionally, each chosen family will receive a food gift card based on the size of their family. They request that no electronics or bicycles be donated as gifts.

    “We’re trying to make it fair and have each child receive the same amount of gifts,” she said. “Each kid, hopefully, will receive the three cards. If not, we’ll fill in [what hasn’t been donated].”

    The program was created after a similar outreach program, which was able to reach 800 individuals in the county, was discontinued.

    “We would like to help as many as we can,” Duchesne said of the new outreach program. She said the need has always been great in Sussex County and “doesn’t seem to go away.”

    “There is a great need. It’s the people that are working but they just can’t make it. They’re working at low-income jobs and, this time of year, a lot of them have either been cut from their jobs or their hours have been cut. A lot of them have a hard time trying to make their bills, and they don’t have extra.

    “In our area, being the rents are high, it’s hard for them to have anything extra. A lot of people don’t understand that.”

    A code number on each tag will be used to identify each recipient, along with the child’s age and gender. Those who wish to participate may choose a tag on the tree, sign their name to the sign-up book near the tree and return the unwrapped purchased gifts to the store, or any other participating store, by the Dec. 13 deadline.

    Duchesne emphasized that the gifts are to be donated unwrapped, as separate wrapping paper and cards may be donated to help the families wrap the gifts for their children.

    Whole families, rather than just individuals, may be adopted by visiting any participating store and signing up at the sign-in table without taking a tag from the tree. An organizer will then contact those who do so to provide more details.

    Those who do not wish to take a request card may purchase gift or food cards, write a check to the Pyle State Service Center Christmas Account, or purchase hats, gloves or socks and drop them at one of the participating locations.

    “Every penny goes to where it’s supposed to be,” Duchesne emphasized.

    Sedona restaurant in downtown Bethany Beach will be collecting hats, gloves and socks for the program, she noted.

    “We’re trying to give hats, gloves, and socks to each recipient, as well,” she said. “We do do extra things in there, because I want them to have a good Christmas.”

    Duchesne added that the First State Detachment Marine Corps Reserve’s Toys for Tots, as well as Clothe Our Kids, will be supplying toy donations that will be used to cover requests on any cards not taken, as well as last-minute requests.

    She said that, while the program is in its first year, with few knowing about it, those who have learned about it have been very responsive.

    “I’m spreading the word everywhere I am and telling people,” she said. “Nobody has said no. … We really encourage people to participate, because the need is great. Hopefully, many, many more will respond.”

    Appealing to the community for help, Duchesne said she hopes the outreach will be embraced and supported.

    “I’m hoping we can be as successful as we had been in the last 20 years in helping people in the community,” she said. “We ask for people to please be as generous as they can… and I hope people will rally to make this successful.”

    For more information on the Bethany Area Community Christmas Gift Giving Outreach, leave a name and telephone number at one of the participating locations, and an organizer will be in touch.

    Helping out

    Gift cards with the recipients’ requests will be located on trees at participating businesses, including:

    Bethany Diner, 792 Garfield Parkway, Bethany; Curves of Bethany Beach, 29K Atlantic Avenue, Ocean View; Millers Creek Antiques, Route 26, Millville; Interiors by Kim, 33 Central Avenue, Ocean View; Coastal Maytag, 30458 Cedar Neck Road, Ocean View; Treasure Island, Cedar Neck Road, Ocean View; Healthy Habits, 407 Main Street, Dagsboro; and Hair Daze, 32770 Burbage Road, Frankford.

    Socks, gloves and hats are being collected at Sedona, 26 Pennsylvania Avenue, Bethany Beach. Those who donate at the restaurant will receive a free appetizer.

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  • 12/05/14--09:20: Agenda
  • Bethany Beach

    • The Town of Bethany Beach will hold its annual Holiday Happenings at town hall on Saturday, Dec. 6, from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m., featuring cookies, hot chocolate, holiday music, face-painting, beach wagon rides, horse-drawn carriage rides and trolley rides through town. Santa will arrive at 4 p.m. There is no rain date. The event is free and open to the public.

    • Construction on the Bethany Beach Streetscape project has resumed in the beach block “loop” of Garfield Parkway. The improvements are part of a $2.4 million project designed to improve pedestrian and vehicle safety. Closure of the loop and adjacent roads, including Atlantic Avenue, can be expected.

    • The regular meetings of the Bethany Beach Town Council and Planning Commission are now being broadcast over the Internet via the Town’s website at, under Live-Audio Broadcasts.

    • The Town has compiled the results of its park survey regarding the former Christian Church/Neff property. They are available online at

    • Bethany Beach ended its pay-to-park season on Sept. 15. Pay-to-park will resume May 15, 2015.

    • Prohibitions on dogs on the beach and boardwalk in Bethany Beach ended Sept. 30. They will return on May 15, 2015.

    South Bethany

    • The next regular town council meeting is Friday, Dec. 12, at 7 p.m.

    • Curbside recycling is picked up every other Friday, continuing Dec. 5.

    • Yard waste is picked up every other Wednesday, continuing Dec. 10.

    • South Bethany is forming a team for the annual Leo Brady Exercise like the Eskimos polar swim held in Bethany Beach on New Year’s Day at noon. Individuals are responsible for registration but should also contact or

    • Prohibitions on dogs on the beach ended Oct. 15. They will resume May 15, 2015.

    • The Town of South Bethany’s website is located at

    Fenwick Island

    • The next regular town council meeting is Dec. 11 at 3:30 p.m.

    • Fenwick Island’s trash and recycling pickup has returned to its fall schedule. The Town is now performing yard-waste pickup.

    • The Fenwick Island town website is located at

    • The Town of Fenwick Island is now on Twitter, at or @IslandFenwick.

    Ocean View

    • The town council will hold its monthly meeting on Tuesday, Dec. 9, at 7 p.m. at town hall.

    • The Ocean View Planning & Zoning Commission will meet on Thursday, Dec. 18, at 6 p.m. at town hall.

    • The Town will hold its annual Holiday in the Park event on Dec. 13 at 3 p.m. in John West Park.

    • Town offices will be closed Dec. 24 through Dec. 26 for the Christmas holiday.

    • The Town of Ocean View now has a Facebook page, which can be found at

    • The Ocean View town website is located at


    • The Greater Millsboro Chamber of Commerce will hold its annual Christmas Parade on Dec. 10, beginning at 7 p.m. in downtown Millsboro.

    •The Town of Millsboro will hold its monthly council meeting on Monday, Jan. 5, 2015, at 7 p.m. at the Millsboro Town Center.

    • Town offices will be closed Dec. 24 through Dec. 26 for the Christmas holiday.

    • The Millsboro town website is located at


    • The Millville Planning & Zoning Commission will meet Monday, Dec. 8, at 7 p.m.

    • The Millville Town Council’s next regular meeting is Tuesday, Dec. 9, at 7 p.m.

    • The second annual Millville Holiday Market will be held at Town Hall and Millville U.M. Church on Saturday, Dec. 6, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. The event includes food, hand-crafted jewelry, clothes, decorations, gifts, snacks and more.

    • The Millville town website is located at


    • The December town council meeting was rescheduled for Monday, Dec. 8, at 7 p.m. at the Frankford Volunteer Fire Company meeting room. The agenda includes discussion and possible consideration of voting on employee pension plan; review and first reading of the amended Floodplain Management ordinance, required by FEMA; a Lions Club presentation; the Town Council election (Feb. 7, 2015); Christmas bonuses for Town employees; and executive session to discuss personnel issues and performances.

    • Curbside recycling is picked up every other Tuesday, continuing Dec. 16.

    • Town offices will be closed Dec. 24 through Dec. 26 for the Christmas holiday.

    • The deadline for voter registration for the 2015 town election is Dec. 31.

    • Candidates for the town council election in 2015 must file to run by Jan. 6.

    • The Town of Frankford website is located at


    • The Christmas Parade is Friday, Dec. 5, at 7 p.m., with the Santa House opening at 5:30 p.m.

    • Curbside recycling is collected every other Wednesday, continuing Dec. 17.

    • The next regular Town Council meeting is Monday, Jan. 5, at 7 p.m.

    • The Town website is at


    • The Dagsboro town council election is scheduled for Dec. 6 from 1 to 5 p.m. at the Dagsboro Volunteer Fire Company’s fire hall. There are two positions open, each with two-year terms, and four candidates have filed: William Chandler, Cathy Flowers, Patrick Miller and Norwood Truitt. Voters may vote for up to two candidates. Requests for absentee ballots must be received at town hall by Friday, Dec. 5, at noon. Absentee ballots may be received up to closing of the polls on election day.

    • The next Dagsboro Town Council meeting is Monday, Dec. 8, at 7 p.m. at the Bethel Center. The agenda includes a public hearing to amend the Floodplain Management Ordinance (Chapter 118 of the Municipal Code), required by FEMA; purchase of refrigerator for Town Hall; purchase of hot water heater for Town Hall and the police station; and Christmas bonuses for Town employees.

    • The town Christmas Parade is scheduled for Thursday, Dec. 11.

    • A Planning & Zoning Commission meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, Dec. 10, at 7 p.m. at the Bethel Center. Agenda items include the revised site plan for Woodlands of Peppers Creek to eliminate the proposed walking trail, as well as a possible a code amendment to change the number of members of the P&Z Commission.

    • The Town of Dagsboro is seeking people to serve on the Planning & Zoning Commission and Board of Adjustment. Anyone who is interested should contact Town Hall for more information.

    • The Town of Dagsboro website is at

    Indian River School District

    • Elementary school progress reports will be released Friday, Dec. 6.

    • Committee meetings are scheduled at the IRSD Educational Complex in Selbyville on Monday, Dec. 8: Curriculum at 3:15 p.m.; Policy at 4:30 p.m.; Buildings & Grounds at 6 p.m.; and Finance at 7 p.m.

    • Parent conferences are scheduled for 5:30 to 8 p.m. on Dec. 10 (middle school), Dec. 11 (high school) and Dec. 12 (elementary school and SDSA).

    • The next regular School Board meeting is Monday, Dec. 16, at 7 p.m. at Sussex Central High School.

    • School Choice applications are due Jan. 14, 2015.

    • The district website is at

    Sussex County

    • Sussex County administrative offices will be closed from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 5, for the annual Mildred King Luncheon.

    • Caroling on the Circle will be held on Dec. 8 at 6:30 p.m. in front of the Sussex County Courthouse. All are welcome to attend and are being encouraged to bring a food item to be donated to those less fortunate within the county. Those who attend will have the opportunity to enjoy cookies and hot chocolate with musical entertainment.

    • The Sussex County Council will meet on Tuesday, Dec. 9 at 10 a.m.

    • The Planning & Zoning Commission will meet on Dec. 11 at 6 p.m.

    • The next County Board of Adjustment meeting will be held on Dec. 15 at 7 p.m.

    • County offices will be closed on Dec. 24 and Dec. 25 for the Christmas holiday.

    • Agendas, minutes and audio, as well as live streaming of all County meetings, may be found online at The entire council packet is now being made available on Mondays, mid-day, before the weekly Tuesday council meeting.

    State of Delaware

    • As part of DART’s Transit Redesign Plan, Delaware Transit Corporation (DTC) has adopted increases to existing service between Delmar and Georgetown, and pilot flex bus services in the Georgetown, Millsboro and Seaford area. The new transportation options are in addition to current DART fixed route and para-transit services.

    • Work on the Route 26 Mainline and Detour Routes Improvement Project this week is expected to include lane closures, with traffic alternating using a flagging operation on Route 26. Work is also set to include ongoing work on the installation of the privately owned Tidewater Utilities Inc. water line between Grants Avenue and Old School Lane, with lane closures with traffic alternating utilizing a flagging operation. Overall, the 4-mile-long project includes the reconstruction of Route 26 (Atlantic Avenue) from Clarksville to the Assawoman Canal and will widen the existing two-lane roadway to include two 11-foot travel lanes with 5-foot shoulder/bike lanes and a 12-foot wide continuous shared center left-turn lane. Construction is scheduled to last for at least 2.5 years. George & Lynch is building the 4-plus-mile project from Assawoman Canal in Bethany Beach to St. George’s U.M. Church in Clarksville. Foul weather, such as rainstorms and blizzards, could push the schedule beyond than the planned September 2016 end date. Regular Route 26 project meetings will be held on the second Tuesday of each month at 10 a.m. at Bethany Beach Town Hall. The public is being encouraged to attend or to get email updates from DelDOT via the project page for the Route 26 project at For additional Route 26 project information or concerns, residents and businesses can contact Ken Cimino at (302) 616-2621, or or at 17 Atlantic Avenue, Suite 2, in Ocean View.

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    Grab those scarves and practice diving for candy canes. Local Christmas parades are back in business in Georgetown (Dec. 4), Selbyville (Dec. 5), Millsboro (Dec. 10) and Dagsboro (Dec. 11).


    To accommodate the growing crowds, Selbyville’s parades have gotten longer recently, and on Dec. 5, the 54th Annual Selbyville Christmas Parade will begin at 7 p.m., with two performance spots on Church Street, near the PNC Bank judges’ stand and by La Sierra.

    “It’s a small town, so we’ll be able to spread it out a little bit,” said organizer Lauren Weaver of Bethany-Fenwick Area Chamber of Commerce, which helps organize the parade.

    “Something about it — it just gives you a good feeling,” Selbyville Town Administrator Bob Dickerson said. “People work all day, don’t get to see their friends and neighbors all day. It’s just … a fun thing to see, and they’re getting more and more entrants all the time.”

    Close to 50 entries will pass by, competing for the Overall Dazzler trophy, sponsored by the Coastal Point. The overall parade is sponsored by Holly Kia.

    The crowds can buy candy apples and cotton candy from vendors, while a fundraiser 50/50 will be offered, and the Selbyville Volunteer Fire Company will be selling oyster sandwiches.

    “This year we have the Santa House, which is right across the road from PNC. Santa will be able to meet with families from 5:30 until 7 [p.m.], before he goes into the parade,” Weaver said. And families can take photos of their children meeting Santa.

    People can also bring preschool-aged books for donation or give a monetary donation to support Delaware Read Aloud.

    One Coastal restaurant will be next door, selling cocoa and cookies.

    Handicapped-accessible parking is behind the Georgia House restaurant.


    Dagsboro is resurrecting an old tradition, with the Dagsboro Christmas Parade on Thursday, Dec. 11, at 7 p.m. (The rain date is Friday, Dec. 12.)

    It starts at the back entrance of Indian River High School, then goes north on Clayton Avenue and west on Clayton Street, ending at the Dagsboro Volunteer Fire Department’s fire hall.

    Besides vendors on the street, people may get coffee and hot chocolate and meet with Santa Claus at the fire hall.

    “I see it as a good aspect for the town,” fireman Bryan Townsend said recently. “It brings people in, and it’s good for the community.”

    “Obviously, it’s the holiday. Everybody gets in the holiday spirit,” said Councilman Brian Baull, estimating that more than 25 years have passed since the Town’s last holiday parade.

    The parade is not a contest among entrants, so everyone can focus on the holiday spirit. All participants will be recognized.


    For the third year, Millsboro’s Christmas parade will be held in the evening, on Wednesday, Dec. 10, beginning at 7 p.m.

    “More people have caught on to it,” said Amy Simmons, executive director of the Greater Millsboro Chamber of Commerce, which organizes the parade. “Last year, we had the biggest crowd we’ve ever seen at the Christmas parade — even the day parades. I’m expecting that again this year.”

    This year’s theme is “Christmas DE-Lights,” and parade participants will aim to dazzle with light displays, fire trucks and more.

    D&D Stained Glass is sponsoring the parade this year, something for which Simmons said she was grateful.

    “I do want to thank D&D Stained Glass for stepping up and sponsoring the parade. No one has to pay an entry fee.”

    Simmons added that PNC Bank also donated money to pay each marching band to participate.

    “We have three bands this year — Central, Indian River, and Delmar High School is new this year. I’m thrilled because we’ve always had the two, and I’ve always wanted at least one more, so I’m very excited about that.”

    Those who wish to participate in the parade may enter by contacting the Chamber no later than Friday, Dec. 5, by 4:30 p.m.

    The parade will kick off from M&T Bank on Mitchell Street, turning right on Wilson Highway, followed by a left on Railroad Avenue. The procession will then make a right on Main Street, going through downtown Millsboro before turning right on State Street and ending at Millsboro Middle School.

    Brian K. Hall will be emceeing the parade again this year and will be set up between PNC Bank and Dollar General on Main Street. Professional judges from Shamrock Judge of Pennsylvania will be hitting the pavement to judge each entry in Dagsboro.

    “We will announce the winners the day after the parade, on the Chamber’s website,” Simmons said.

    Cheryl’s Dance Alley will be selling hot dogs and hot chocolate near its studio on Main Street. Additionally, a portable toilet will be located in the parking lot of PNC Bank.

    The same evening, from 5 to 9 p.m. the Millsboro Art League will be hosting an open house to coincide with the parade. The community is being invited to browse the artwork and warm up with some hot chocolate and treats.

    The following night, the Art League will hold its Holiday Party, from 7 to 9 p.m., which is free and open to the public.

    Perhaps the biggest star of the parade will be Santa Claus himself, who will be bringing up the rear of the parade.

    “The big man himself will make an appearance, and his wife is coming with him this year,” said Simmons.

    Following the parade, the Clauses will make their way to Santa’s House on Main Street, next to Dairy Queen, to meet with children who want to tell him what they want for Christmas.

    “I hope everyone comes out and has a great time,” added Simmons of the evening.


    The Georgetown Chamber of Commerce has scheduled its “Simply Christmas” Christmas parade downtown on Thursday, Dec. 4.

    The participants, including bands, floats and community organizations were set to be judged in their individual categories, as well as for “Best Theme” and overall “Best in The Show.”

    In past years, the parade was known for its balloons, which the Chamber said would still be featured prominently this year.

    “Balloons are back by the bunch,” said Chamber Executive Director Karen Duffield. “We will probably have nearly 1,500 helium balloons at this year’s parade, not only for hand-outs for the kids, but for decorating the judges’ stage and around town.”

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    The Indian River School District is having a pretty intimate conversation, under the watchful eyes of the community. Despite years of teaching health, IRSD is writing its first official health curriculum, where sex-education is the hot topic.

    After four subcommittee meetings with school counselors, administrators, teachers, nurses and parents, the high school program is nearly complete. (Development of the middle school program hasn’t even begun.)

    As the discussion has proceeded, some in the community have vocally encouraged the board at their meetings, and beyond to develop a curriculum that includes topics related to heterosexuality and homosexuality, as well as birth control and STD prevention. At the same time, some others in the community, including Board Member Shaun Fink, have said they prefer a more conservative approach.

    And now, the nation is taking note. On Dec. 1, the National Coalition Against Censorship emailed IRSD Superintendent Susan Bunting and the subcommittee, asking them to ensure “that students have access to accurate, scientifically sound health information. To deny students such information because of anyone’s religious or other personal belief-based objections would raise serious First Amendment concerns, and, in turn, compromise our public education system and potentially expose students to unnecessary and significant health risks.”

    The NCAC cited Fink’s personal declarations that he prefers abstinence-only education, without definitions of homosexuality or bisexuality included.

    Fink, a local pastor, has readily explained that his position is based in his own Christian beliefs, but he has not discussed those beliefs during public school board or committee meetings, only in outside interviews. In subcommittee meetings, he has only raised points related to Center for Disease Control statistics.

    “I want the community to have their way on this. If the community disagrees with me, then [so be it], but I don’t want this to be a backroom decision,” Fink told the Coastal Point in October.

    The NCAC cited court cases regarding the “establishment clause” of the Constitution, which “bars the government from endorsing any religion.”

    Regarding the exclusion of information on sexual orientation from the curriculum, NCAC said, “It would also send a chilling message to the school district’s LGBTQ students, parents, and community members. Our courts have ruled that decisions about school materials should serve all students in the school. Does that not include LGBTQ students?”

    Fink suggested the communication from NCAC was a “scare letter” that touched on past court cases. But others disagreed.

    “It’s just a letter. Let’s just work through the process,” said James Hudson, board member and Curriculum Committee chair.

    “It wouldn’t influence my input” throughout this process, said Sussex Central High School Principal Bradley Layfield of the letter.

    “It’s a working group,” emphasized community member Maria Johnson, who noted that the newspaper coverage of the issue was probably the basis of NCAC’s letter.

    Discussion of the matter has been heated, but not disrespectful, said LouAnn Hudson, IRSD director of curriculum. She said she believes the open discussion has put them in a good place.

    Building a curriculum

    The school board has already approved new HealthSmart textbooks for high schools (primarily ninth-graders) and middle schools, which are already being taught. The booklets range in topic from drug prevention to nutrition to violence and injury prevention.

    Meanwhile, two sex-ed books are still under review. They would not be taught until approved by the Health Subcommittee, IRSD Curriculum Committee and School Board.

    Until then, health teachers will continue sex-ed as before, and with little connection across the district.

    The State of Delaware requires schools include in their curricula “a comprehensive sexuality education and an HIV-prevention program that stresses the benefits of abstinence from high-risk behavior.”

    But that’s vague.

    “I think there’s a reason they … do that,” said Hudson. “As difficult as these conversations are to have, I think it’s important we have them as a community. As a local school entity, we get to make the decision what’s best for our community and our schools.”

    It is a polarizing subject, but the IRSD wants to be transparent, she said.

    As an administrator, Layfield said, he has seen students bullied for being homosexual and others bullied for not accepting homosexuality, being called bigots. He said he expects people to be tolerant of each other.

    “You can be tolerant without having to accept anything. That’s the one message I have,” Layfield said. “You might want to advocate for what you feel, but at the point you belittle others,” he said, it’s unacceptable.”

    Let’s talk about sex(-ed)

    The issues involved in just the first lesson of the proposed curriculum caused so much discussion that it was tabled for later. It includes vocabulary such as “sexual abstinence, hormones, sexual health, sexting, STD, bisexual, homosexual, straight, transgender, masculinity, femininity, gender roles” and much more.

    Much of the discussion came from within the teachers’ notes from the curriculum — which students will never see — including the use of the word “normal.”

    For instance, the teachers’ guide used the word “normal” when describing sexuality, sexual orientation and asexuality.

    Johnson suggested the word “normal” takes “a stance on something that not everybody agrees with.”

    “Do we want to teach that all sexual orientations are normal?” Fink asked the group.

    The group discussed keeping the language neutral, to merely say the orientations exist but not to suggest they are either normal or abnormal.

    Hudson reminded them that the curriculum must also satisfy bullying-related laws, making sure “students feel respected and safe,” she said. “The teacher’s supposed to teach respect for all. It doesn’t mean it’s normal.”

    Family values

    Family values are still being encouraged, whatever they may be. Students don’t always turn to their parents, said Kathie Collins, SCHS health teacher. But multiple lessons encourage students to discuss topics with their families. That includes medical care, birth control and more. Even the scope of “abstinence” is based partly on personal beliefs, the lessons say.

    At least six lessons specifically revolve around abstinence, while others repeatedly call abstinence the best way to avoid pregnancy, HIV and STDs.

    “Abstinence is the best choice for teens” the lesson plan says.

    “You wonder why we emphasize abstinence,” Layfield said, emphasizing that it’s because there are a lot of risks when one is not married or monogamous, Layfield said.

    Fink asked about emphasizing the risks of male-to-male sex, but others countered that all sexual abstinence is encouraged, not just for particular groups.

    Fink also asked about IRSD’s lack of policy regarding birth control discussions (a suggestion from the lessons). Hudson said there is no written guideline, but school principals and health teachers usually discuss it.

    “That’s what I see as lesson curriculum, because you don’t go outside that scope and sequence,” Hudson answered.

    Layfield said he knows what should be taught.

    “If I see anything outside that in the classroom, that’s going to necessitate a conversation between the teacher and me,” whether it’s health or English class, he said. “It does take care of itself when we know the scope and sequence.”

    Too much sex?

    Some taking part in the discussion said they felt the subjects of rebellion and risky behavior would plant a negative seed in some students’ heads. But Hudson said the purpose of those lesson areas is to show that while teens do have those feelings, there are important reasons not to act on them.

    As supervisor of secondary instruction, Will Revels said the lessons take a realistic approach to what teenagers think or feel. When learning about “Making Decisions to Support Abstinence,” students are told to imagine a character who is invited to an unsupervised party where his crush — and alcohol — may be present. Students brainstorm every possible option, such as attending the party, leaving early, drinking, staying home or inviting the crush on another date.

    Then they discuss every possible positive and negative outcome of those choices (including the obvious: having fun, seeing friends or getting drunk and getting in trouble).

    “This lesson doesn’t sugar-coat things. There may be negative outcomes to the decision to be abstinent,” Revels acknowledged.

    For instance, students don’t want to be teased, or they might be rejected by their crush.

    Calling herself an “advocate for faith-based community,” Johnson said she was concerned that the curriculum was overly clinical and didn’t discuss the benefits of having sex in a loving, monogamous relationship, which she said is perhaps best found in marriage.

    “‘What is a healthy relationship?’ I just finished with that [unit],” said Collins. “If it’s not healthy, how do you end it?”

    “This is a two- to three-week course,” Hudson said. “We don’t have time, nor is it our responsibility to teach an exhaustive sexuality course. I think we’re just trying to stick to the facts. I believe we’re based in abstinence. I believe [that fulfills] what the law says.”

    Even the consequences of World War I only get one day in history class, Layfield pointed out about the limitations of class time.

    Birth control

    The group also reviewed a fact sheet on 10 birth control methods (including abstinence, pills, condoms and IUDs). That includes teaching students how to get birth control (prescription or over-the-counter). Layfield said that information prevents students from using something they shouldn’t, such as borrowed birth control pills or old condoms from a friend.

    “I don’t think there’s anything wrong with telling students there are many different types of birth control, when you get to that point in your life. [For] certain things, you need to consult with your family or doctor,” Layfield said. “You’re not just going to walk into Walgreens and get birth control.”

    It’s best for students to consult with family, Layfield agreed. But students might not call home when they’re 20 and ready to have sex in college, he noted, so they should still be knowledgeable.

    Johnson questioned why the curriculum couldn’t just suggest students go to their parents.

    One IRSD nurse said her own “very religious” background couldn’t play into her treatment of patients.

    “When you come in, I have to help you address that medical problem,” said head nurse Gloria Duffy of her background in public health. “We want to treat you,” rather than scare someone away because they’re afraid parents might find out.

    Fink pointed out that this is a school environment, not a treatment center.

    “As a rule of thumb — not policy — we do not hand out condoms in school,” Hudson emphasized. The district also probably won’t invite outside agencies to come in for health talks or specific contraceptive demonstrations.

    “I’m not comfortable letting someone from Planned Parenthood in my school,” Layfield said.

    Johnson said the graphic language of the discussion made her uncomfortable at times. She questioned the method of teaching students “filth” to protect them from it. For instance, students study the HIV risk factor for various actions, from shaking hands to oral sex.

    “They know all this stuff,” Duffy said of the teenagers. “You wait ‘til they’re seniors, it’s almost too late. That’s why you start in ninth grade, giving them information.”

    “I understand your concern, but I think kind of it might be a good thing,” Fink told Johnson. “These things they’ve heard of … to see the words beside ‘High Risk’ might be a good thing.”

    “Once they get to high school … they are swimming in a very big pond with seniors — 17, 18, sometimes even 19-year-old kids,” said Revels, who said he has known of younger students who were taken advantage of by older ones.

    Johnson said she also feels the curriculum is overly birth-control-oriented.

    “You have to give them the information that keeps them safe,” Hudson said. The curriculum encourages abstinence, but “if that is not the choice they make, I think it is our responsibility to make sure they have the information to go find the help they need.”

    The age of consent in Delaware is 16.

    “I understand you have your beliefs, but kids are having sex,” Collins said, adding that, while she is a health teacher, she believes the home is the best place to teach morals.

    Under the curriculum teachers would heavily emphasize the consequences of becoming a teen parent, from emotional, social, physical and financial perspectives. But teachers must also be sensitive. There may be proud mothers in that classroom.

    Segregating the sexes

    Johnson repeatedly asked about separating male and female students for sensitive topics. She suggested it might lessen the “hysteria” of talking about such an excitable subject.

    Collins said it’s more important to have a teacher control the conversation and any excitement. There are also logistical concerns. Every time students are separated, the class needs a second teacher.

    High school students will always stay together for class. Middle-schoolers are only separated for discussion of the reproductive system.

    Collins said students don’t speak up more than usual, even from the safety of a same-sex group. And in the mature setting of high school, girls need to understand the boys’ point of view, and vice-versa.

    Speaking from his own experience, counselor Justin Steele said it’s better to keep students together, focused on one subject, rather than having them wonder what the others are discussing.

    “It’s kind of like when you’re in elementary school,” Steele said. When the girls finally joined the boys at recess, “They told us everything … and then it’s happening without adult supervision.”

    They’ll discuss their perceptions of sex, based on what they hear, as well as popular culture and media.

    “The reality is most kids aren’t having sex,” Revels said.

    In the classroom, Collins said, she aims to create a safe place for students to openly talk or ask questions. But they may not share personal details outside the classroom.

    And if students offer too much personal information, she shuts it down.

    “It’s nobody’s business who’s having sex with who,” she said. “We [teachers] don’t want to hear who’s having sex.”

    The next step

    The Health Curriculum Subcommittee will meet next on Thursday, Dec. 18, at 4:30 p.m. at the IRSD Educational Complex in Selbyville. The group hopes to finish the high school curriculum and schedule an upcoming public forum.

    Additionally, they’ve barely discussed the idea that parents could opt out of having their children taught some or all of the curriculum. Families can say they want children taught in a different way, but schools still need to fulfill the state health education requirement.

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    The retrial of former political candidate and local businessman Eric Bodenweiser on sexual abuse charges will be moved to Kent County, following Superior Court Judge E. Scott Bradley granting his attorney’s Motion to Change Venue, “concluding that there exists in Sussex County a reasonable probability of so great a prejudice against the defendant that he cannot obtain a fair trial in Sussex County.”

    In June, a mistrial was declared in the case. The alleged crimes took place in October 1987 and August 1990 — starting, the alleged victim said, when he was 10 years old.

    In 2012, a Sussex County grand jury indicted Bodenweiser on 113 total counts, including 39 counts of Unlawful Sexual Intercourse First Degree and 74 counts of Unlawful Sexual Contact Second Degree. Those charges were eventually reduced to 14 total counts, and for the jury deliberations, the charges were reduced again.

    In the end, the jury of eight women and four men was tasked with deciding if Bodenweiser was innocent or guilty of 10 counts of first-degree unlawful sexual intercourse and five counts of second-degree unlawful sexual contact. The jury had the option of convicting Bodenweiser on third-degree unlawful sexual intercourse charges instead of first-degree. The lesser charge carries a two- to 25-year jail sentence instead of 20-years-to-life.

    In the Dec. 2 decision, Bradley noted that the case has “garnered a considerable amount of media attention” due to the nature of the allegations, as well as Bodenweiser’s ties to the business and political communities. He said the trial, as well as the hung jury, had received media coverage.

    “Indeed, a large number of potential jurors in Sussex County are familiar with the case and have already concluded that the defendant is guilty. … Therefore, to ensure that the defendant receives a fair trial, the case will be tried in Kent County,” Bradley ruled.

    Bodenweiser’s attorney, Joe Hurley, declined to comment on Bradley’s decision, saying he didn’t wish to draw more media attention to the case.

    The retrial is set to begin on Jan. 12, 2015.

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    The Town of Dagsboro will hold an election on Saturday, Dec. 6, for two seats on the Dagsboro Town Council. Each of the two positions is for a two-year term, and four candidates have thrown their hats into the ring. Voting will take place from 1 to 5 p.m. at the fire hall. Below are their responses to a series of questions compiled by the Coastal Point. The responses are listed in alphabetical order.

    William Chandler

    Q. What qualifies you to serve on Town Council?

    A. With five generations of my family having lived in Dagsboro, we have always tried to give back to the community by volunteering to serve the Town and by participating in its governance. As a lifelong resident, I believe that I understand and appreciate the character and charm of Dagsboro, as well as the quality of life that it affords us. My background and experience in law, business, education and public relations should equip me to help the Town meet the numerous challenges and problems that confront all municipalities.

    Q. What do you see as the most important thing to accomplish in the next two years?

    A. I hope to accomplish, among other things, the following: (1) make it easier for citizens and business owners to have a voice in establishing priorities for (and general governance of) the Town; (2) increase transparency around the Town’s budgetary process; (3) make sure the Town is financially secure; (4) promote safe and affordable water services for our residents and businesses; (5) increase access to recreational opportunities for our children and grandchildren, as well as develop a more “walkable” Dagsboro through expanded and interconnected sidewalks throughout the Town; and (6) enhance public safety for our residents, including traffic-calming devices and installing safety measures at crosswalks to protect pedestrians using our sidewalks.

    Q. Do you have any ideas to increase downtown business development?

    A. Dagsboro already has adequate infrastructure to attract economic development — including labor force, roads, utilities, sewer, water and appropriate zoning regulations for the downtown district. Indeed, so far this year three new businesses have opened or will open soon along Main Street. Nevertheless, we can and should do more to support our existing businesses (some of which have been here for a generation or more). There are numerous businesses in Dagsboro that could be helped through pro-growth policies — construction businesses, antique shops, restaurants, specialty stores, home decorating and personal service businesses. Tax and financial incentives could be used to encourage expansion or growth in existing businesses, thereby accelerating job creation.

    Q. What makes you the right choice for this seat?

    A. I have lived in Dagsboro all my life and have raised my own family here. Thus, I would hope that the citizens of Dagsboro know me (or know members of my family) and have confidence that I would work in the best interests of the Town and all its residents. I have deep roots in this community, as well as connections to the people who live here and the way of life we all enjoy as residents of this small town — and these roots and connections are the animating force that caused me to seek a seat on Council. Ultimately, my 35-year career in law, business and education has taught me that, if you keep an open mind and listen carefully to what others have to say, you will make better, and wiser, decisions.

    Cathy Flowers

    Q. What qualifies you to serve on town council?

    A. I previously served on town council for eight years and am a regular attendee at the council meetings.

    Q. What do you see as the most important thing to accomplish in the next two years?

    A. I would like to lower taxes. I was serving on town council and was the only “no” vote when they were raised last year, and I really believe that with good money management, we could lower them for 2015.

    Q. Do you have any ideas to increase downtown business development?

    A. I would love to know what the residents think about this topic. I myself believe that the high amount of traffic may be part of the problem. We have a high volume of traffic through town, but, unfortunately, most of the traffic is in a hurry and just passing through and not wanting to stop at many of our businesses, and residents don’t want to go out on weekends in the summer due to the beach traffic. I enjoy walking through town, but some the sidewalks are treacherous or non-existent.

    Q. What makes you the right choice for this seat?

    A. I care about the residents’ opinions. During my previous service on town council, I based my decisions/votes on residents’ opinions, not my own.

    Patrick Miller

    Q. What qualifies you to serve on Town Council?

    A. I have served on the Town Planning & Zoning Committee for the past two years. I am familiar with some of the community development plans and concerns that have been brought before us. I have served on multiple military boards and committees, along with church boards and committees. I have grown up in “small-town America” and can relate to smaller community concerns.

    Q. What do you see as the most important thing to accomplish in the next two years?

    A. I think Dagsboro as a town needs to grow its local businesses. I’m aware that the most-voiced concerns are increased taxes, increased traffic and development control. As a town, I feel we need to attract more local businesses, which will bring in more revenue to our town, which in-turn will help pay for the town maintenance, employee salaries, etc.

    Q. Do you have any ideas to increase downtown business development?

    A. Re-instating the town “Holiday Parade” was an excellent start in the involvement of community and small local businesses. I think the Botanic Gardens coming to Dagsboro in 2016, along with the “beautification project/grant” will attract would-be new business owners. We will have to continue to build on those fresh new concepts.

    Q. What makes you the right choice for this seat?

    A. Along with my prior experience of living in small towns and serving on the P&Z committee, I plan to retire from the Army early next year. This will allow me to devote more time to this position than other candidates that still maintain full-time positions.

    Norwood Truitt

    Q. What qualifies you to serve on Town Council?

    A. I have served two years on Planning & Zoning and eight years on council, the last two years in the position of vice-mayor.

    I have learned a great deal about how a town council works, trying to balance the needs and desires of the town while keeping an eye on the budget so neither spending nor taxes get out of hand.

    Q. What do you see as the most important thing to accomplish in the next two years?

    A. Maintaining and improving the park. Better sidewalks and pedestrian access around Dagsboro. Better drainage on our streets after a storm. Completing Phase 3 of the Town Center improvements.

    Q. Do you have any ideas to increase downtown business development?

    A. To be as reasonable with the costs of permitting as possible so that startups will be encouraged both in Town Center and in the commercial district on Route 113.

    Q. What makes you the right choice for this seat?

    A. As a lifelong resident of Dagsboro, I will work hard to make sure the town continues to experience responsible growth that will complement our small-town community atmosphere. Dagsboro is my home.

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    With one eye on today’s politics and the other on future academics, six Sussex County students have earned some collegiate cash for their political punditry.

    Sussex County Council, at its Tuesday, Dec. 9, 2014, meeting, announced the 2014 winners of the Election Year Scholarship Contest, recognizing six children — one grand prize recipient and five runners-up — with plaques and scholarship prizes for their winning efforts. This year’s contest was the eighth since its inception.

    “It has always been the highlight of each election year to see our young people getting involved in the political process, and this year is no different,” said Councilman Vance Phillips, who proposed the election contest beginning in 2000. “Hopefully, this is the beginning of a lifetime of civic engagement.”

    Students ages 18 and younger who are residents of the county and enrolled in public or private schools were invited to participate in the contest, which serves as a fun lesson about the American election process. To take part, students filled out a form on the County website to predict the winners of 22 national, state and local races in the Nov. 6 general election.

    To break a tie, each entrant was asked to predict the total number of votes the winner of the state treasurer’s race would receive from Sussex County. Kenneth Simpler, who won the election, collected 41,215 votes from Sussex County.

    Students competed for one $200 scholarship prize, and five $100 runner-up prizes. One winner and five runners-up were declared, based on their predictions and the tie-breaking question, from a field of 165 participants. Those students were recognized at the County Council meeting Tuesday morning. The winner and five runners-up are:

    • Winner Trevor Beachboard, 16, a junior at the Sussex Central in Georgetown. Trevor correctly picked 20 of 22 races, with a tie-breaking prediction of 30,000 votes from Sussex County for the treasurer’s race winner;

    • First runner-up David Lisiewski, 13, an eighth-grader at Millsboro Middle School. David correctly predicted 20 of 22 races, with a tie-breaking prediction of 78,967 votes from Sussex County for the treasurer’s race winner;

    • Second runner-up Ethan Ward, 13, an eight-grader at Sussex Academy. Ethan correctly predicted 19 of 22 races, with a tie-breaking prediction of 40,000 votes;

    • Third runner-up Chase Monigle, 11, a fifth-grader at Richard Shields Elementary. Chase correctly predicted 19 of 22 races, with a tie-breaking prediction of 995 votes;

    • Fourth runner-up Devan Hudson, 13, an eighth-grader at Millsboro Middle School. Devan correctly predicted 19 of 22 races, with a tie-breaking prediction of 988 votes;

    • Fifth runner-up Ethan Shuttleworth, 10, a fifth-grader at Richard Shields Elementary. Ethan correctly predicted 19 of 22 races, with a tie-breaking prediction of 509 votes to capture the last prize.

    County Administrator Todd F. Lawson said the students and their families should be proud of their accomplishments.

    “This is an impressive feat for all the students involved.” Lawson said. “It’s always inspiring to see students so young take an interest in the political process.”

    While the top student won a $200 scholarship prize, the five runners-up were not left empty handed. Each won a $100 scholarship. All of the scholarships are to be paid upon a student’s enrollment in college or another post-high school educational program. Funding comes through councilmanic grants, as well as from the Moore & Rutt law firm.

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    Coastal Point • Submitted: Kayla Bollinger’s fourth-grade class collected the most items during a recent food drive at Lord Baltimore Elementary School.Coastal Point • Submitted: Kayla Bollinger’s fourth-grade class collected the most items during a recent food drive at Lord Baltimore Elementary School.Students at Lord Baltimore Elementary School in Ocean View collected 2,300 non-perishable items during a recent food drive to assist needy families in the area.

    Organized by school counselor Theresa O’Shields, the food drive asked students to collect cans and other non-perishable items during a five-day period in November. Students and staff then sorted the items and prepared boxes for needy families.

    Lord Baltimore school safety monitor Barry Dean sponsored a pizza party for the classroom that collected the most items. The honor went to Kayla Bollinger’s fourth-grade class, which collected 262 items.

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    Sussex County has named Vanessa B. Pettyjohn of Millsboro the 2014 employee of the year for County government.

    County Administrator Todd F. Lawson announced this year’s winner last week during the annual Mildred King Luncheon for the County’s approximately 500 employees. Pettyjohn was selected by her co-workers from a field of four employees, all quarterly winners this past year, for the honor.

    Pettyjohn, this year’s first quarter winner, received a standing ovation from employees as she was presented with a plaque.

    “I’m humbled and honored to have been selected as Employee of the Year,” said Pettyjohn, who is a billing support coordinator in the Finance Department-Billing Division. “My philosophy has always been that if I can help somebody along my journey, then my living would not be in vain. Working here at Sussex County allows me to do just that.”

    Lawson commended Pettyjohn for more than 38 years of dedicated service, which began in 1976 as a clerk in the Assessment division. Lawson praised Pettyjohn for her professionalism, personality, enthusiasm and commitment to going above and beyond in service to the County organization and the constituents it serves.

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    First State consumers who are eligible for a direct payment as part of the $7 million settlement Attorney General Beau Biden reached with Ocwen Financial should soon be receiving their checks, Biden announced earlier this week.

    More than 200 Delawareans will receive checks of approximately $1,200 under the settlement, which Biden, 48 other attorneys general and the federal government reached with Ocwen in December 2013 to resolve allegations that the financial institution’s misconduct contributed to the housing crisis. The settlement holds Ocwen accountable for past mortgage servicing and foreclosure abuses, provides relief to homeowners, and stops future fraud and abuse.

    The payments are going to Delawareans who had mortgages serviced through Ocwen or one of two subsidiaries and lost their homes to foreclosure between January 2009 and December 2013. The checks should have all been in the mail by Tuesday. In addition to these direct payments, Ocwen was also required to provide financial benefits, such as principal reductions, to homeowners who still hold an Ocwen mortgage as well as make significant customer service improvements.

    “Our financial system only works when everyone plays by the rules and there must be accountability when the rules are broken,” said Biden, who has secured more than $185 million for Delaware in settlements with banks whose conduct helped cause the housing crisis. “The funds we have secured in these settlements provide financial benefits to consumers as well as resources to strengthen communities harmed during the housing crisis.”

    Ocwen specialized in servicing high-risk mortgage loans. Ocwen’s misconduct resulted in premature and unauthorized foreclosures, violations of homeowners’ rights and protections, and the use of false and deceptive documents and affidavits, including robo-signing, according to officials.

    Ocwen customers eligible for the payments should already have been contacted. Consumers can contact Ocwen at (800) 337-6695 or Borrowers having difficulty contacting Ocwen or who have questions should contact Biden’s office by calling the Attorney General’s Office of Foreclosure Prevention at (800) 220-5424.

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    On Oct. 23, the Sussex County Superior Court and Delaware Technical Community College’s Paralegal Program held a joint e-filing seminar for students and members of the Sussex County legal community at the Owens Campus.

    Approximately 50 participants, who included students, local paralegals, court personnel and attorneys, and representatives from the e-filing company attended the event. Featured speakers Angela Melton of File & ServEXpress and Myrtle Thomas of Sussex County Superior Court discussed topics such as training opportunities, procedures, costs and fees associated with e-filing programs. For more information, call (302) 259-6668.

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    Once again, Selbyville Community Club is collecting winter coats for homeless veterans.

    From now until Dec. 30, locals can donate clean and gently worn jackets, sweatpants and sweatshirts at Selbyville Town Hall on Church Street.

    “The community has been so generous and has always given such good quality things for them,” said organizer Dawn LeKites. She called it a “privilege” to deliver the donations each year.

    All the donations – for men and women – will go to Delaware Center for Homeless Veterans, which provides affordable housing and supportive services for vets in need.

    “Each year I keep thinking it will trail off a little bit because people would give their coats, and that’s it. But it keeps getting bigger each year,” LeKites said.

    Volunteers will deliver the coats to the Wilmington headquarters, where the DCHV will disperse to people across the state.

    “I’m always amazed. In 300 coats we had last year, I think I had to take one out because it had spots on it [although it was still clean]. That’s a pretty good record,” LeKites said.

    This comes at the end of a successful children’s coat drive by Selbyville Police Department.

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    Deputy Attorneys General in the Department of Justice secure a number of important convictions, sentencings and other court rulings each week. Here are the highlights from the week ending Friday, Dec. 5.

    • After securing convictions the prior week against Otis Phillips, 38, of Wilmington, first-degree murder, manslaughter, gang participation possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony and a number of additional charges in the July 12 fatal shootings at Eden Park, Deputy Attorneys General John Downs, Ipek Medford and Periann Doko secured a 12-0 jury recommendation for capital punishment in the penalty phrase. Downs, Medford and Doko also secured convictions against co-defendant Jeffrey Phillips, 23, of Wilmington, on first-degree murder, manslaughter, gang participation possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony and a number of additional charges. Jeffrey Phillips’ penalty phase began Monday.

    • In a case that will take a violent criminal off of Wilmington’s streets, Deputy Attorney General Mark Denney, who leads the DOJ’s Wilmington Trial Unit, secured a 20-year sentence for Rakeem Mills, 26, for possession of a firearm by a person prohibited. Mills has multiple state and federal convictions for violent crimes. He was convicted in a trial by jury in September of this year for firing a handgun repeatedly in broad daylight at unknown passengers in a car. Mills was on probation and sentenced as a habitual offender. His co-defendant, Blayton Palmer, is still pending.

    • Deputy Attorney General Jaime McCloskey secured a 10-year sentence against Anthony Dale on a possession of a firearm by a person prohibited charge. Dale was arrested on Jan. 31 after being after fleeing from New Castle County Police during a traffic stop. Officers found a loaded handgun on the driver’s side floor board. Dale was already out on bail at this time on a previous firearms charge and had prior convictions for drug dealing offenses, making him a person prohibited from possessing a firearm. He would eventually be tried on that first firearms charge by Deputy Attorneys General Nicholas Wynn and Periann Doko and be convicted, receiving a 4-year prison sentence. So, between the sentence McCloskey secured last week for the January 2014 offense and the sentence secured by Wynn and Doko, this repeat violent offender will be incarcerated for a total of 14 years.

    • Deputy Attorney General John Taylor secured an 8-year prison sentence against Clifton Lloyd, 28, of Middletown, who had been convicted of second-degree burglary for a break-in in Middletown. Lloyd was sentenced under Delaware’s habitual offender statute because of prior convictions.

    • Deputy Attorney General Barzilai Axelrod secured a guilty plea from Terrell Davis, 44, of Wilmington, to heroin dealing and aggravated possession of heroin, which will result in Davis being sentenced as a Habitual Offender with mandatory incarceration. The New Castle County Police Department investigated Davis, a.k.a. “Rell,” for dealing heroin in the area of Philadelphia Pike and Holly Oak Road. A search warrant was executed on his home and Davis was taken into custody. Police recovered 356 baggies of heroin, drug paraphernalia, marijuana, illegally possessed prescription drugs, and in excess of $7,000 of United States Currency. The defendant has previously been convicted of felony drug charges.

    • In a another case that will carry sentencing under Delaware’s habitual offender statute, Deputy Attorney General Zach Rosen secured a guilty plea to a charge of dealing morphine from Clifton Waller, 63, of Wilmington. This case resulted from an investigation by the Drug Enforcement Administration in which DEA officers observed Waller delivering 20 morphine pills to another subject in Wilmington. The offense is a Class C Violent Felony.

    • Attorneys in the Department of Justice’s Family Division last week collected more than $46,000 in child support arrears from the execution of sequestration orders they had previously filed against three non-custodial parents. This money was due to six different custodial parents and either was already sent to the custodial parents this week or will be sent to them shortly. A sequestration order allows the State to seize some or all of a large lump sum payment received by a non-custodial parent who owes a significant amount of child support.

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    The Christmas spirit is coming to Millsboro as a memorial. Nearly 500 evergreen wreaths will be laid at Delaware Veterans Memorial Cemetery on Saturday, Dec. 13, when Wreaths Across America honors the lives of fallen veterans nationwide.

    “It’s something that started in Arlington National Cemetery and has spread throughout the country,” said David Bradley, a local volunteer.

    The wreaths began in 1992 with just a few people. Now, thousands of wreaths brighten cemeteries in all 50 states.

    People have ordered wreaths for their own family graves, or as donations for other random graves. They will have an opportunity to lay the wreath themselves.

    “I was in the Navy,” Bradley said. “So it’s honoring our veterans, [which] has always been something that’s always been very near and dear to me.”

    The Wreaths Across America ceremony will begin at the cemetery on Dec. 13 at noon, after all the wreaths have been placed on the graves, beginning at 10 a.m.

    The Millsboro effort is coordinated by Sally Kubicki, of the VFW Post 7234 Ladies Auxiliary.

    “It’s dignified. That’s what everyone says, it’s a wonderful service,” Kubicki said. “The people are very nice.”

    The program includes a guest speaker, soloist, military honors, wreath presentations from all branches of the service and more. The public is invited to attend, including veterans and families.

    Surviving family members often cannot make the journey from New York, Virginia and surrounding areas. Kubicki has gotten many calls and letters from these people. Local volunteers ensure their special requests are filled.

    Moreover, buried veterans are remembered, even when they have no family.

    “I know families that are [buried] there that have no children, and they would never have a wreath, probably. But we know who they are,” Kubicki said. “It’s a feeling of comfort. It’s a feeling that we haven’t forgotten them.”

    A military wife herself, Kubicki has been “involved in military practically my whole life.” When she first saw the ceremony, she told her husband, “This is something I want to do.”

    “A lot of people, even family members, don’t even know this occurs,” Bradley said. “It’s just a matter of trying to get the word out there that this event even takes place.”

    In terms of action, all people have to do now is show up. Wreaths have been purchased, and volunteers are scheduled to help.

    “I have had wonderful feedback this year,” Kubicki said. “I have a lot of new people coming out.”

    Volunteers are sending time and funding from VFW, American Legion, Knights of Columbus, Fenwick Island Lions Club, Indian River High School LEO Club and other groups. Even the Young Marines will help fluff the wreaths and bows.

    Fenwick Island Lions Club shared the Wreaths Across America mission as a reason for donating: “to remember the fallen; to honor those who have served; and to teach our children the value of freedom.”

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    The Sussex County Council approved a change of zone and a conditional use of land in an AR-1 Agricultural Residential District for a campground in Long Neck at its Dec. 10 council meeting.

    The request was filed on behalf of Ida C. Faucett, Faucett Heirs, LLC and Massey’s Landing, for the property spanning approximately 50.83 acres. Castaways at Massey’s Landing will offer 322 sites for recreational vehicles and 10 tent-camping sites.

    Among the conditions of approval, the park will have to have a 200-foot buffer from any structure or lands surrounding the property. Motorized watercraft may not be sold or leased from the property, or launched from the site.

    “If we’re going to have a campground, let’s have a campground,” said councilman George Cole.

    Cole also requested that the Planning and Zoning Commission review the site and determine the appropriate percentage of park models, RV and primitive campsites allowed throughout the campground.

    “It gives the county a little control,” he explained. “Go look at some of these older campgrounds… they don’t look a thing like a campground.”

    Councilman Vance Phillips voiced concerned that the County did not have the ability to police such a condition, and added that the market place should determine what kind of sites this park offers.

    “This is something that goes to a whole different level,” he said.

    The conditional use was approved with a 4-1 vote, with councilwoman Joan Deaver opposed, citing great public opposition.

    “I feel very strongly that it should be denied,” said Deaver.

    Earlier in the meeting, the council also approved a change in zone from a MR Medium Density Residential District to an AR-1 Agricultural Residential District with a 4-1 vote, with Deaver opposed.

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    The Town of Frankford voted unanimously Tuesday night to table taking any action on determining whether or not it would have an employee pension plan.

    “I think it should be tabled until we get our healthcare costs,” said council president Joanne Bacon, noting the Town’s healthcare renewal is in February.

    Bacon also stated that she would not be in favor of the State’s pension plan, of which the Town had several presentations on, saying it would be too costly for the Town.

    Councilwoman Cheryl Workman agreed, stating she wanted to table the discussions.

    Resident Marty Presley, who works in the financial industry, recommended the Town still hold workshops, and look into alternative pension options.

    “Everyone in the town agreed everyone should have a pension,” he said. The discussion was what kind of pension plan should be provided to employees.

    “You haven’t even looked at the alternatives… There are a number of options out there.”

    Resident Jerry Smith asked why the Town began discussion regarding pension plans.

    Frankford Police Chief William Dudley, Jr. said the discussions began three years ago, when the department applied for a Federal grant, and council asked him to investigate as to whether or not the funds could be used to start a pension for the department.

    He said the Town continued discussions, and Officer Nate Hudson was hired with the understanding that there would eventually be a Town pension plan.

    “This man was hired with the intent that there was going to be a pension plan for him,” said Dudley. “I put it in, it was something they said they were going to do three years ago and never did it.”

    Resident Bernard Lynch asked if the Town had considered joining with Dagsboro’s police force. Bacon said no, with Dudley noting their department is on the State pension plan.

    Murray airs grievance

    Property owner Kathy Murray said that she had a meeting with Town Solicitor Dennis Schrader and council members Pam Davis and Charles Shelton regarding a four-page complaint she submitted against Workman and Town Administrator Terry Truitt.

    “The initial complaint was, Robert Murray had asked Terry why two checks that we had presented had not been deposited, and she immediately stated we were in litigation. Cheryl Workman said she was there and she heard the whole conversation to validate that we were in litigation…

    “Dennis Schrader has emphatically denied that conversation ever existed… indicating that my husband and I were in litigation,” she continued.

    Murray said the letter also included information about a request she had made to be placed on a council meeting agenda that was not accepted.

    “No one on the council was ever notified, yet two other members had requested [to be placed on the agenda].”

    Murray said in the letter she presented “detailed facts” to back up the complaint regarding the incident.

    “I asked for a public apology in that letter,” Murray said. “I asked reprimands be taken in accordance to that, that the whole intent of that was to induce slander and reputable harm.”

    Councilman Jesse Truitt was not in attendance at the Dec. 2 meeting as he is married to Terry Truitt, and Workman did not attend, as she was part of the complaint. Neither Truitt nor Workman received the complaint. Bacon, along with Davis and Shelton, received a copy of the complaint, however she did not attend the meeting, as she is Murray’s sister.

    Council will be unable to take formal action on the complaint, as three members of council are disqualified from taking part in any action.

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    The Town of Ocean View will be looking into drafting language for a special exception use for a brewery following the request of local businessman and town resident Joel Antonioli.

    Antonioli, owner of Superior Screen & Glass, located on Town Road, contacted the Town to see if opening a brewery would be permissible within town limits.

    “I’m just investigating if this is a viable business for me and my current business in Ocean View,” said Antonioli at the Dec. 9 council meeting.

    Originally Antonioli contacted Public Works Director Charles McMullen to see if such a business would be in compliance. McMullen said it was not a permissible use in the Town’s current Code.

    Councilman Bob Lawless asked Antonioli about his vision for the brewery.

    “Currently my vision is to start out small. I’m not going to bet the farm on something. A lot of startup breweries fail but through my investigation a lot of them succeed, also.

    “My idea is to start off small and grow if demand requires it. I don’t know where it’ll take me,” he said, adding that he has been researching the idea for three years.

    Town Solicitor Dennis Schrader asked if his vision not only included manufacturing but on-site sales, and/or a restaurant.

    “That’s not what I’m currently looking at, on-site sales,” he said, stating he would want to work with alcohol distributors, and believes there is a big enough market to sell to liquor stores.

    Antonioli said he believed it would work well as an area business.

    “I think it would fit a lot with the tourist atmosphere around here. People would like to come here and go away with something made here. That’s a big trend — people want to buy local. They don’t want their beer shipped from Milwaukee; they don’t want their fruit shipped from Central America. They like to buy things local.”

    “We look forward to the time when it’s a brand recognized around the world,” said Lawless with a laugh.

    McMullen said he would work with Schrader to have a draft presented to council, hopefully by the February 2014 council meeting.

    In other Town news:

    • The Town held the first read of an ordinance to repeal Chapter 116, Article I, Flood Damage Reduction, and to adopt a new Chapter 116, Article I Flood Damage Reduction, and to adopt flood hazard maps, related to the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA’s) flood ordinance.

    The Town participates in the National Flood Insurance Program, which requires the Town to adhere to requirements of the federal government and, more specifically, FEMA.

    McMullen said the Town had been waiting to see what action Sussex County Council would take. Although the County chose not to make freeboard a mandatory requirement, McMullen said the Town has had a freeboard requirement since 2004.

    The ordinance would require new construction, or those properties having significant improvements to have a required two-feet of freeboard, meaning two feet above base-flood elevation.

    • Council voted unanimously to reappoint Tom Silvia to the Board of Elections for a three-year term.

    • McMullen said businesses in town have been suffering due to the Route 26 project. He said the Town plans to work with businesses to help keep the public informed that businesses will remain open during the construction, and upcoming bridge closures.

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    Residents were able to voice their opinions last week related to Mediacom Delaware LLC’s application to renew its franchise agreement to provide service in areas of Sussex County.

    On Oct. 17, Mediacom filed an application with the Delaware Public Service Commission to renew its cable television franchise — currently serving certain unincorporated areas of Sussex County.

    Mediacom is the current holder of a 15-year cable television franchise issued by the commission in 2000. The franchise agreement is set to expire on June 10, 2016, but includes a provision granting Mediacom an option to request renewal for an additional period not to exceed 15 years.

    The Dec. 4 public hearing held at the Millsboro American Legion Post 28 was attended by area residents, as well as Mediacom representatives and representatives from the Delaware Public Service Commission.

    “I know you’re all not here to tell us what a great job we’re doing,” said Carrie Boggs, Mediacom’s government relations manager, to those in attendance.

    Boggs said the perception that the company is seeking an exclusive agreement is incorrect.

    “It doesn’t prevent anyone from coming into the market.”

    She said the company is known for servicing rural communities, rather than metropolitan areas, across 22 states.

    The company’s normal monthly capital expenditure is $20 million, equaling approximately $240 million a year, which is approximately $15 of a user’s monthly bill.

    “We invest a lot of our money into our company, into our plant, into your service,” she said, noting that the company also offers scholarships to local high school students and sponsors community events.

    Pat Hynes, the area’s operations director, said with the digital transition this year mailers were sent out to customers to inform them of the switch. He said in the spring a great deal of traffic was seen in both calls and visits to Mediacom offices, requesting assistance on how to program televisions.

    “We planned for it, we expected it. It got to the point where we were getting a lot, so what we did was to try to alleviate that, we flew it techs from other areas in our system.”

    Hynes added that Mediacom wants to have a good relationship with its customers.

    “We’re here for you. We understand there’s been problems and it’s frustrating,” he said. “We’re all local people. We want to make you happy, give you the best experience you can have with us. With your feedback, with wherever our shortcomings are, to fill those in and do a better job for you folks.”

    David Cornish said he attended the meeting because he is pleased with his service.

    “I have had absolutely no problem,” he said.

    Georgetown resident Jim Malloy said his experience was completely different from Cornish’s.

    “My wife and I are both in real estate, the Internet is absolutely essential. We were literally losing customers.”

    He added that he feels there isn’t any local response for the poor service, and that his family’s experience is not unique.

    Malloy said he was so dissatisfied with calling the company for help and having to wait “no less than one half hour to speak to a human being,” he filed a complaint with the Public Service Commission.

    Charles Dorn echoed Malloy’s comments, stating he wants Cornish’s service.

    “I’ve been here three years and Mediacom has been nothing but problems,” he said.

    “To get service you hang on the phone forever to try to talk to somebody. When you finally get a person you’re told, ‘Oh yeah, we can get out in 30 days.’ That doesn’t make it in this world.”

    He questioned why another provider could not be brought into the area to offer cable service to residents.

    “If you give them 15 years, what’s their incentive to improve,” questioned Dorn’s wife, Pat. “The Internet is no longer a luxury, it’s a necessity.”

    Jayne Sheahan said she has had extreme problems with pixilated images, tiling, as well as the change in volume when switching channels.

    “I, too, think a limited agreement is what we need, not 15 years,” she said.

    Walter Barcus said he was attending both personally and professionally, as he works for an area TV station.

    “We get our programming in over fiber optic. We have Mediacom tower site as well as FiOS because we cannot afford to be off the air,” he said. “We’ve gone, to my knowledge, at least four or five months not being able to use Mediacom. We actually paid to have fiber optics run from the pole to the building.”

    Barcus also said he was concerned that the agreement allows Mediacom to “redline areas they don’t want to serve.”

    “In the current agreement there is a line that says it if there are not at least 40 customers on a road per mile, they don’t have to go down that road.”

    Barcus suggested Mediacom be granted a one- or two-year contract, with the caveat that they must return to the state and show how they are making improvements.

    Mediacom provides cable television and Internet service to several communities in Sussex County, and the Public Service Commission is currently seeking public comment regarding Mediacom’s franchise renewal application.

    A public comment session will be held in the summer of 2015 to accommodate Mediacom’s seasonal customers. Additional information can be found at the Public Service Commission website, at by referencing Docket 13-431.

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    The Town of Frankford’s Police Chief William Dudley, Jr. will be retiring

    Earlier this week, Dudley said he officially announced to council that he would be retiring from his position as chief at the end of the year.

    “I started back when I was 21 and I’m over 62 now. That’s close to 42 years of experience,” he said of his time in law enforcement, joking that he could write a book. “I’ve enjoyed all the years of service with the various police agencies I’ve been involved with and I’ve absolutely enjoyed all the opportunities I’ve had, but it’s time now that I have to look at what’s best for me at this point.”

    Dudley said, along with announcing his retirement plans to the Town, he also informed his coworkers, and his colleagues at the Delaware Police Chief’s Council. He said that although he told council his final date of employment would be Dec. 31, 2014, he would stay a little longer, if the council requested his help in training or finding his replacement.

    “I have no problem doing that if that’s what they need,” he said. “I don’t know how they’re going to proceed at this point. I don’t know what their plans are. It’s their town. It’s their decision. I’m not going to get involved in it.”

    With pension talks monopolizing many of Frankford’s town council meetings, Dudley stressed that his retirement is not related to those discussions.

    “It’s a decision that at this time is right for me. This decision has to be made for me and not for any other reasons. My decision was already made long before this,” he said. “I first started here, I made up my mind and told everyone on the council at that time this would be a three- to five-year plan, getting the police department started, up and running, and making sure it was successful. Fortunately I was able to extend it to seven years.”

    Dudley said his additional two years working for the town was “a good thing.”

    “This is my town, I look at this as my town because when I got there, there was nothing and we had a lot of issues going on. There was a lot of open-air drug dealing, people out in the street —there were real problems. It took us quite a while to get those problems solved…

    “One of the things I’m proud of is making this town safe again. People can walk up and down the sidewalks, people aren’t afraid to go out at night.”

    Dudley said he could not speak to citizens’ speculations of the disbandment of the Town’s police department following his retirement.

    “This department is set up if they want to continue it to be successful,” he said. “Without a police department, I think it’ll be a situation where things will run rampant. I think they will go right back to their old ways and I don’t think that’s what the people of this town really want.”

    Once retired, Dudley said he plans to move south and enjoy his time out of uniform.

    “I’ve enjoyed my time and I’ve had a great career. It’s been a blessed one; it’s been a pleasurable one. I will miss the people,” he said. “Sussex County is a great place to live. It’s a wonderful place, it’s a wonderful area and I think this town has a lot to offer.”

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