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    A record number of women joined the Fund for Women as new founders at the annual Fund for Women Sussex County fundraiser, “Winter Founderland.” Women shopped, had cocktails and appetizers, and participated in the event for the cause of supporting women and girls in Delaware.

    “We are all about helping women and girls, but we are also about networking and having fun,” said Lynn Kokjohn, Sussex County development chair and director of the December event held at Independence in Millsboro.

    Winter Founderland was a shopping and food extravaganza with “retail therapy” provided by Josephine’s Daughter, CoolSpring Cottage, Sweet Serenity Chocolates, Discovery Toys, Too Crafty Ladies and Silpada Jewelry. The Girl Scouts and the Rehoboth Art League were also represented with information on their programs and upcoming events.

    Almost 150 women came together for the event, but the big news, organizers said, was in the philanthropy that was exhibited. There were 23 new Founders — women who pledged to donate $1,000 over the next five years — as a result.

    “This is just fabulous,” said Kokjohn.

    The Fund for Women was founded in 1993 with a purpose to provide funding to enhance the worth and potential of women and girls in Delaware by bringing together the collective philanthropic power of women. The Fund for Women (FFW) is an endowment fund at the Delaware Community Foundation, a nonprofit tax exempt organization under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code.

    The new founders are: from Lewes, Kelly Sheridan, Diana Beebe, Sheila Bravo, Chanta Wilkinson, Beth Copeland and Susan Trone; from Rehoboth, Kate Murphy Ring, Jeannette Webber, Debi Kaplan and Sheri Borrin; from Milton, Barbara Barski-Carrow; from Millsboro, Ellen Todd, Bea Shockley, Patty Jacobs, Ruth Pryor, Paula Castiglione and Terry Miller; from Millville, Kristen Goodman; from Ocean View, Kathy Goodman; from Georgetown, Ruth Briggs-King, Lisa Wharton; from Seaford, Cora Leigh Callaway; and from Bridgeville, Bonnie Smith.

    To become a founder or contribute to the fund, contact the Delaware Community Foundation at (302) 856-4393 or go to www.decf.org/FFW.


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    Doug Ruley, corporate chef for Rehoboth Beach-based SoDel Concepts, has been invited to cook at the James Beard House on Friday, March 15.

    It will be his second time cooking in the former home of James Beard, an American cookbook author, teacher, syndicated columnist and television personality. Ruley was the guest chef on April 29, 2014. Also in 2014, SoDel Concepts founder the late Matt Haley received the James Beard Foundation Humanitarian of the Year Award.

    “There is no higher honor in the restaurant business than being recognized by the James Beard Foundation,” said Scott Kammerer, president and CEO of SoDel Concepts, which owns eight restaurants, Plate Catering and Big Thunder Roadside Kitchen. “Doug Ruley is well-deserving of this prestigious invitation.”

    Organized by the James Beard Foundation, the regularly scheduled dinners — held in the townhome at 167 W. 12th Street in Greenwich Village — feature four- to five-course meals with wine pairings prepared by guest chefs from around the world.

    The meals can highlight an individual chef or chefs from more than one restaurant. They can showcase the restaurant’s concept or a theme. Last year, Ruley presented the “Coastal Kitchen,” a menu Haley and Ruley created together to salute the Mid-Atlantic region. (Haley could not attend that dinner because he was accepting the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation’s Cornerstone Humanitarian Award in Washington, D.C.) Haley passed away in August 2014 due to injuries sustained in a motorcycle accident.

    This will be the second time in a single year that Ruley will be the guest chef at the James Beard House, an unprecedented honor.

    “It’s hard to express how honored I feel to be invited to cook at the James Beard House,” Ruley said. “This year, I’m creating a menu that honors Matt’s legacy of preparing simple, beautiful food, which remains an important characteristic of a SoDel Concepts restaurant.”

    The kitchen at the James Beard House is well known for its small size. What’s more, guests are invited to walk through the kitchen to meet the chef and watch the team at work, adding to the challenge. Guests enjoy appetizers on the ground level — or outside if weather permits — and dine on the second level. The evening concludes with a question-and-answer session.

    “When Matt received the Humanitarian of the Year Award, he did so on behalf of the team at SoDel Concepts and for Delaware,” Kammerer said. “We are thrilled that we can continue to bring a taste of Delaware to some of the most discerning palates in the world.”

    For information on the event and to keep an eye on when ticket sales begin, visit jamesbeard.org/events.


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    Before you bring home your new puppy/dog, it is important to prepare your home. There are several simple things you can do ahead of time to make your new pets adjustment easier. Your new puppy/dog will very inquisitive about its new environment, so you want to take some simple safety precautions to make the transition smoother:

    • Check for poisonous plants;
    • Secure all detergents, cleaning products and other chemicals;
    • Hide or cover electrical cords;
    • Remove all breakables;
    • Remove and securely store all kids’ toys;
    • Secure all items out of your pets reach that it might chew (things like TV remotes, phones, computer tablets, purses, leather items, wooded items, etc.); and
    • Restrict access to pools or hot tubs.

    Next, you want to set up your new dog’s sleeping and eating areas. I recommend using a crate for your dog. Some people think it’s cruel to place dogs into crates, but when started young, they learn to easily accept it.

    It could be an important training technique later in their life, too. Say you have to evacuate to a shelter for some reason. Most shelters require pets be kept contained while there. If your dog has been accustomed to spending some time in a crate previously, it will be a simple and easy adjustment.

    In the crate I like to place something like a bathmat or piece of carpet and then some sort of bedding on top of that. It is best to have a backup set of bedding, because there will more than likely be some sort of accident on the bedding at one time or another. Also, just for regular cleaning purposes it is a nice convenience to have a backup set of bedding.

    I also like to have a water bucket in the dog’s crate. You will also want to have something like a Kong toy or an appropriate-sized bone to place in the crate with your new pet.

    Next, you will want to set up your dog’s feeding area. I recommend putting down a doggie placemat. This can be a rubber mat purchased at a pet store or a small scatter rug that is machine washable. Again, I recommend having a backup.

    Then you will want appropriately-sized food and water dishes. I do not recommend plastic because of toxins that can leach out of the plastic and into your pet’s food and water. I would go with glass or stainless steel. I recommend having several, so you can always have a cleaned and sanitized backup. Food bowls should be washed daily and water bowls, at minimum, weekly. More often is better.

    Next, you will want somewhere safe and secure to store your pet’s food. If you are feeding dry kibble, I recommend a stainless steel container where you can place the entire bag of food in the bag inside of the container. If buying large bags of food, a metal trashcan will work.

    The reason to store it in the bag is for several reasons. If your food has a recall, you will have the food in the bag to check to see if it is included in the recall. Also, it keeps your storage container more sanitary. It also prevents cross-contamination by emptying new with older product.

    So you ask: Why bother putting it into a metal storage container anyway then? Well, it helps to keep varmints like mice from getting into your dog food and contaminating it. It also helps to keep your dog from serving himself.

    Now, you need to have a family meeting to determine everyone’s responsibilities in the care and upbringing of the new pooch. You also need to make a list of commands that everyone will use. You don’t want everyone using different commands, it will only confuse your new pet. Standardization is key.

    You also need to determine the ground rules, and everyone must enforce them. (Will your new pooch be allowed on all of the furniture or just select pieces? Will new puppy be allowed to sleep in human beds, etc.?) Everyone, again, must enforce the same rules. Consistency is extremely important to prevent confusion for the puppy, so the more prep work you do before the new pup comes home is important.

    One last thing to do is to decide what food you will be feeding your new pup. Most breeders will send you home with some of the food they have been feeding. So, first, find out what it is that they have been feeding and decide if it is one you wish to continue with.

    Unfortunately, many breeders do not feed what I personally consider to be a high-quality food. If you are not already a savvy dog food label reader, I would recommend starting with a great website, at www.dogfoodadvisor.com. It not only helps to teach you how to read dog food labels, they also have their own rating system to help guide you through the tricky decision process.

    A few things to take into consideration in choosing your dog’s food: Now, this is where I become very passionate and opinionated. My opinions are based on my extensive research over the years — but, remember, these are my opinions, and I am not a nutritionist, medical person, etc. I am a very informed consumer. So… my opinion…

    First off, I feel that a raw homemade diet is best. Second best is a raw manufactured diet. Third is a homemade cooked diet. Then after that comes kibble and canned. In that range, avoid grains. Dogs are carnivores, not vegetarians, not omnivores. This means they are meat-eaters. So, you want a diet of mostly meat.

    You want the best quality food you can afford to feed, both financially and time-wise. Like I said, I believe homemade raw is best; however, I do not personally feed that to my dogs. I know that I do not have the time dedication to properly prepare the raw diet on a regular basis. So, you must recognize your time and financial dedication when choosing your new pup’s food.

    However, also realize that by feeding a better, healthier, more nutritionally complete food to your pet, it will help to keep your pet’s overall health better, resulting in possibly lower medical costs.

    So, first find out what the breeder is feeding, rate it and decide if you want to stay with that or choose another food. Then do some research and determine the food you wish to use. Also, I believe in feeding a variety of foods, not just sticking to one brand or one flavor. This keeps food fun and interesting to your dog.

    If you switch often, you will not need to have an adjustment period. If you use one food for a long period and then want to switch, you will need to do it gradually over a period of one to two weeks.

    This should get you started to prepare to bring your new pooch into your home. In another upcoming article, we will talk about welcoming your new pup into your home. It will also talk about training. So, I will leave you with a shopping list of supplies for your new pup, so you can start planning:

    • quality dog food;
    • small training treats;
    • larger training treats;
    • water bucket;
    • crate;
    • double-clasp hook;
    • two sets of food and water bowls;
    • crate bedding — at minimum, two sets;
    • an additional dog bed;
    • training collar;
    • 4- or 6-foot leash;
    • 10- to 15-foot training lead;
    • Collar or harness for walking;
    • brushes and combs, breed-appropriate;
    • cleaning supplies, such as urine stain remover, scrub brush and doggie do-do bags
    • toys;
    • chewy treats;
    • quality dog shampoo;
    • bitter apple spray;
    • toothbrush
    • dog-specific toothpaste;
    • dog placemat.

    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 two bloodhounds, which she has shown in conformation and is currently training her male bloodhound 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 countryservice@comcast.net. Remember, she is not an expert: she offers her opinions and suggestions from her experience and research.


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    Planet Maze in Ocean City, Md., this week announced the kick off to a year-long celebration commemorating its 20th anniversary, featuring contests, specials and a birthday party.

    From now until the end of the year, people can submit photos of their time spent at Planet Maze, to be entered into a monthly contest. Every submission receives a “buy one, get one free” coupon. The monthly contest winner will receive a full month of free admission.

    Monthly winners will then be entered into a grand prize contest. The public will determine the winner at the end of the year. The grand prize is an Apple iPad, sponsored by Comcast Spotlight, and one full year of free admission for four people. Runners-up will receive prizes, as well.

    Additionally, customers can enter their name into a drawing upon every visit to Planet Maze (no limit to the number of visits). A weekly winner will be selected at random and will receive one full day of free admission.

    Finally, the public is being invited to join Planet Maze in May for its 20th birthday party. Employees past and present, and customers old and new, are being invited to party with the owners and staff for the occasion. Full details and the date of the event will be announced soon.

    Owners Rina Thaler and Jamie Albright, and their families, said they are excited for the upcoming year of events.

    “Over the past 20 years, we have helped thousands of kids and adults celebrate the milestones in their lives,” said Thaler.

    “Now we invite the public to celebrate 20 years of fun with us at our 20th birthday party,” Albright added.

    Planet Maze is an interactive amusement facility located on 33rd Street in Ocean City, Md., that offers Lost Galaxy Golf, Lasertron, a climbing wall and maze, arcades, youth and adult parties, and team-building excursions. It will celebrate its 20th anniversary in May 2015.


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    That 2015 resolution can be a healthy one when people start their exercise routines to get ready to run or walk the annual Ten Sisters of Dewey Beach Run/Walk Series 2015, which will begin on May 25 and end with the 39th Bottle and Cork 10-mile run.

    Wayne Kursh, race director for Races 2 Run, said, “This year’s events will be the best ones yet! This is our 13th year for the fun and exciting racing series sponsored by the Highway One Group. Proceeds from many of the races go to local charities, such as Sussex Consortium, the Beebe Foundation for the Tunnell Cancer Center, the Dewey Beach lifeguards and other worthwhile organizations.”

    Participants can go online to www.races2run.com and check out the dates and times for the running series. They may register for one race or all 10. Beach house or family teams are also being invited to participate. Team rules are on the website, or contact Barb Kursh at barb@races2run.com or at (302) 521-0134.

    Those who run all the races as indicated will receive prizes, such as 10 Sisters awards, running attire and a free pass for the New Year’s Eve 2016 event at the Rusty Rudder. Early registration may be done at a discount. The race schedule includes:

    • Monday, May 25 — 13th Highway One Pictures 5K;
    • Saturday, June 6 — 2nd Dewey Color Run, 2.8 miles;
    • Sunday, June 28 — 13th The Ivy 5K;
    • Sunday, July 5 — 12th Rusty Rudder 5K;
    • Sunday, July 12 — 9th Dewey Beach Liquors at the Cork 5K;
    • Saturday, July 25 — 14th North Beach College Day 5K
    • Sunday, Aug. 2 — 13th Dewey Beach Patrol 10K/5K;
    • Saturday, Aug. 15 — 2nd Breast Fest 5K;
    • Sunday, Sept. 6 — 3rd Summer’s End 5K; and
    • Saturday, Sept. 12 — 39th Bottle & Cork Ten Miler & 5K.


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    Tennis ability is runs deep for 10-year old Julianna Johnston. Her father, Sea Colony Tennis Director Thomas Johnston, was a three-time All-American at Pomona Pitzer College, as well as the University of Virginia Men’s Tennis Team.

    After her father took over the Sea Colony program, it wasn’t long before Julianna began playing the sport that her father has dedicated his career to, starting off with at the program at the age of 6.

    “My dad was a coach, and it seemed interesting and was a lot of fun,” said Johnston of her initial interest in tennis.

    “A couple years ago, her tennis started to take off, where she could start playing more matches and playing some tournaments,” explained her father. “I try not to push her too hard, but she’s been consistently coming out to tennis practice for the last two to three years.”

    Just a few years into her young playing career, Johnston is not only emulating her father’s love for the sport, but his success, as well — recently being ranked the No. 1 player in her U-12 age group in Delaware and honored with Player of the Year Award by the United States Tennis Association.

    “[I’m] very proud knowing that I am a good tennis player,” said Johnston of the ranking.

    “It’s pretty cool. I have a big smile on my face,” added Thomas Johnston. “She’s a good athlete, and she’s got a great attitude.”

    The ranking was determined by USTA based on the 2014 calendar year, during which Johnston won two junior tournaments — both of them held on her home court at Sea Colony. Even more remarkably, Johnston only just recently turned 10, having locked in her No. 1 U-12 ranking as a 9-year-old for the majority of the season.

    “It’s inspired me to continue to have fun in the sport,” she said. “I want to improve and see how good I can get.

    “She’s excited about it, and I think it’s motivating her to keep playing,” added her father.

    Johnston will be presented the Player of the Year Award at a ceremony held in Wilmington on Jan. 25, on the same day that her father receives his 2014 award for Delaware USTA Pro of the Year.

    Johnston’s brother, Robert, is ranked No. 14 by the USTA for U-14, adding up to a family trifecta, but the Johnstons aren’t the only Sea Colony players and pros receiving accolades. In fact, many of the program’s participants are getting recognition and rankings, as well.

    “I’m really proud of all the kids. They’ve all been consistently coming out to practice now for a couple years, and it’s really starting to pay off for them,” said Johnston of the program.

    “All those kids that are participating in our program have really good attitudes, and that’s definitely the most important thing. If the kids have a ton of fun, and work hard, all that rankings stuff will take care of itself.”

    Julianna Johnston reflects that view.

    “My dad says that if I keep having fun and work hard, I can get as good as I want to be.”


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    Delaware Attorney General Matt Denn announced last week that the state’s Department of Justice would be restructured to create a new Office of Civil Rights & Public Trust.

    The office will be responsible for protecting individual rights and liberties of Delawareans, enforcement of laws designed to ensure citizen trust in government, and conducting investigations where the Department of Justice’s other responsibilities might present the appearance of a conflict of interest.

    Denn has appointed Allison Reardon, one of the most senior attorneys in the Department of Justice, to head the new office. Reardon most recently served as State Solicitor, the highest-ranking civil attorney in the Department of Justice. Reardon will report directly to the Chief Deputy Attorney General.

    “This new office will create a focus for the office on civil rights and citizen trust in government,” Denn said. “It will provide the legal firepower to ensure that these important areas are addressed, and will provide citizens with a point of contact in the office when they believe that there are civil rights or public trust issues that must be addressed.”

    “I am very pleased that Allison Reardon will be heading this new effort. It is important that the person in charge of this effort be a skilled attorney, have sound judgment and have my confidence. Allison is one of the most respected attorneys in the Department of Justice and is the perfect person to head up this effort.”

    The responsibilities of the Office of Civil Rights and Public Trust will include:

    (1) Enforcement of Delaware laws protecting the individual rights and liberties of Delawareans, including but not limited to rights secured by the Delaware and United States constitutions, Delaware’s public accommodations laws, housing discrimination laws, employment discrimination laws, and laws protecting the educational rights of children and the rights of Delawareans with disabilities.

    (2) Enforcement of laws designed to ensure citizen trust in government, including election laws, laws governing the use of public funds, and laws governing the conduct of public employees and officials. In these areas, the office will work collaboratively with the Elections Commissioner, Public Integrity Commission and State Auditor.

    (3) Investigations where the Department of Justice’s other responsibilities might present the appearance of a conflict, such as investigations of use of force by law enforcement officers and investigations of deaths or near-deaths of children under State supervision.

    Meredith Stewart Tweedie, who previously served as the head of the health law unit for the Department of Justice, has been selected to take over Reardon’s former role as State Solicitor. Denn also announced that State Prosecutor Kathleen Jennings, Consumer Fraud Director Matt Lintner and Family Division Director Patricia Dailey Lewis would remain in their current positions.

    Danielle Gibbs, currently a partner at Young Conaway Stargatt and Taylor, will serve as Chief Deputy Attorney General. Gregory Patterson, a former aide to Gov. Jack Markell and to Denn as insurance commissioner, will serve as Chief of Staff, and Emily Cunningham, who headed Denn’s lieutenant governor staff, will serve as Deputy Chief of Staff in the Department of Justice.


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    The Greater Millsboro Chamber of Commerce will hold their 20th Annual Central Sussex Bridal Show on Sunday, March 15, from noon to 3 p.m. at the Millsboro Town Center. Sponsors for this year’s event are Chardon Jewelers and the Voice Radio Broadcasting. The theme for this year’s event is “A Platinum Affair” to celebrate its 20th year.

    There will be two fashion shows, presented by Candlelight Bridal of Millsboro and Amore Bridal of Dover. Admission costs $5 but brides get in free of charge. Vendors will be on hand to help with all aspects of planning a wedding. Vendor applications are still available at www.millsborochamber.com For more information, call (302) 934-6777.


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    On Tuesday, Jan. 20, the Rehoboth Beach Writers’ Guild will host another night of “Songs & Stories” at Dogfish Head Brewings & Eats in Rehoboth Beach. The event, which starts at 7 p.m and lasts until about 8:30 p.m., is free and open to the public.

    This month’s “Song & Stories” offers five songs to be performed by former Gone Boys members Terry Plowman and harmonica player Ron Carey. (Gone Boys was the house band at the Front Page back in the late 1980s and early 1990s.) Joining Plowman and Carey will be Bill Richardson, who also performed regularly back in the early 1990s with local act Jimmy Bones.

    The musicians will play a variety of songs — everything from “Willin’” by Little Feat to “I Ain’t Ever Satisfied” by Steve Earle to Barenaked Ladies’ “If I Had A Million Dollars.”

    The challenge for the writers who will perform is that they must use either the title of the song or something from the lyrics in the story, poem or mini-essay that they will write for the event. Each piece of writing (there will be two per song) also has be short — only 300 words or fewer.

    Readers include, among others, Shakespearian actor and University of Delaware professor James Keegan, the Local Buzz’s Deb Griffin, novelist and humor writer Paul Dyer and poet Katheryn Gekker.

    Throughout the event, audience members are invited to drink and dine at Dogfish. (Audience members are encouraged to arrive early, as the upstairs room, where the event is held, often fills quickly). For more information about this event, or to RSVP to allow the night to run more smoothly, email contactus@rehobothbeachwritersguild.com.

    The Rehoboth Beach Writers’ Guild, which has been hosting the event for more than eight years, is a nonprofit 501 c (3) association dedicated to supporting, encouraging and educating writers of all genres and skill levels throughout Delmarva. For more information about upcoming winter writing classes, Free Writes or the reading/song series, go to www.rehobothbeachwritersguild.com.


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    The Indian River School District, in partnership with Academic Partnerships LLC, will host a teacher recruitment fair on Feb. 21 at the Clarion Resort Fontainebleau Hotel in Ocean City, Md.

    The inaugural Mid-Eastern Shore Educator Recruiting Fair will run from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. and feature school district recruiters from all of Delaware and the eastern shores of Maryland and Virginia. The event is designed to match teacher candidates with anticipated K-12 vacancies in the participating school districts. Candidates will be able to interact with school leaders and will have the opportunity to apply for current and anticipated job openings.

    Teacher candidates can register online at apllc.org. Individual registration fees are $15 in advance and $20 on the day of the event. Groups of 10 or more candidates can register for a special rate of $10 each. Teacher candidates should bring multiple copies of their current résume along with PRAXIS scores and proof of anticipated certification area.

    The registration fee for schools is $225, which includes one 6-foot table and lunch tickets for two representatives. There will be a $100 refund for cancelations prior to Jan. 21. There will be no refunds after that date.

    The event will be held regardless of weather. The Clarion Resort Fontainebleau Hotel is located on 101st Street in Ocean City, Md.


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    People passing through Fenwick Island may have noticed more shimmer and sparkle since Sophia’s Fine Jewelry opened its doors Dec. 4, 2014, offering one-of-a-kind jewelry, service, and most importantly, a chance to make precious memories.

    Coastal Point • R. Chris Clark : Sophia’s Fine Jewelry opened its doors in the Village of Fenwick shopping center in Fenwick Island on December 4. They offer fine jewelry and watches, like these Swiss watches.Coastal Point • R. Chris Clark : Sophia’s Fine Jewelry opened its doors in the Village of Fenwick shopping center in Fenwick Island on December 4. They offer fine jewelry and watches, like these Swiss watches.“We want to create memories for people,” said managing partner Byron Anthony. “We want to leave people with a good feeling when they come in and when they leave. We want them to feel safe and secure, and feel good about what they purchased for their loved one.”

    Presented by Kokkinos Creative Jewelers, which has been operating for more than 30 years in Ocean City, Md., Sophia’s is owned by Anthony and John Kokkinos.

    “Sophia is John’s daughter,” explained Anthony, “and in Greek it means ‘wisdom.’ It’s an important word to us, in the Greek culture.”

    Awash with natural light, the gem of a shop is tucked away in the Village of Fenwick. It has an array of jewelry, showcasing diamonds, aquamarines, rubies, emeralds, sapphires, tanzanite, and also sells loose diamonds and colored gemstones. In the spring, the store will be offering a variety of sea glass jewelry.

    “It’s hard,” said Anthony of choosing which pieces to carry. “You just go by your experience.”

    Sophia’s staff welcomes customers regardless of their budget, with pieces starting at $50. Their designer lines include MarahLago, Kabana, Zeghani By Simon G, Allison-Kaufman, Swiss-made Citizen watches and LeStage convertible bracelets.

    For those looking for a piece with some history, the store also carries a variety of estate jewelry.

    “Some of our stuff is turn-of-the-century Victorian,” Anthony noted.

    The store also offers appraisals, certificates of authenticity, repairs, restoration, remounting, sizing, watch batteries and more.

    “We can do A to Z. If you come in, we can clean and inspect your jewelry to see if it’s safe, to see if it needs any work,” said Anthony.

    Sophia’s can also help customers design and create custom pieces, and will also be selling and buying diamonds, scrap gold and silver.

    Anthony, who has 28 years in the jewelry business, started as a clerk at Mark Douglas Jewelers in Ocean City, Md.

    “Within a year, I became vice president of the company, and then they made me a partner,” he said. “I grew with that company and was with them for 15 years.”

    According to Anthony, during his tenure, the company was one of the top 100 jewelers in the country.

    When the owners decided to part ways, Anthony retained a store until 2008, and then went to work for longtime friend John Kokkinos.

    “We’re very close,” said Anthony. “We go to the same church. We speak Greek together… We started talking about going into business together after John Hastings decided to retire after 38 years at Krugerrand [Fine Jewelry]… People told us we were crazy. Nothing ventured, nothing gained, you know?”

    Anthony, who studied art, has a background in painting and sculpture.

    “This just fit right in. I’ve always tinkered with stuff. I’ve always been an artist.”

    Anthony designs his own jewelry line, which features castings of old Roman coins and stones of antiquity. He also wants to create snake rings.

    “Most people don’t know I do this stuff,” he said of his career as a jeweler.

    That’s because most people know him as a guitarist and lead vocalist for the Chest Pains, a New Wave band formed in the early 1980s that has performed in the area for decades. Anthony currently performs with fellow original member Jeff Davis, as well as Chris Button and Joe “Mama” Wirt.

    “I was a craps dealer in Atlantic City. One of my friends called me and said, ‘Hey, we’re starting this band — it’s going to be called the Chest Pains.’ I said, ‘That’s it,’ and I quit my job,” he said of returning to Maryland to play in the band.

    “We played opening acts,” recalled Anthony of the band’s early years. They opened for The Ramones, Steppenwolf, Love Tractor and other big-name bands, all in Ocean City, Md.

    As for the jewelry business, Anthony said it’s similar to music, in that it touches everyone.

    “I love the sentiment — how stuff means something, how you get somebody who brings in a ring, ‘This was my great-grandmother’s ring, and we want to spend some money to restore it.’

    “Even though maybe it’s not worth it,” he said of the pure monetary value of such a piece, “it means something to somebody. It has that aura. That’s what I like about it… The stuff we sell to people will be around for hundreds of years.”

    Sophia’s Fine Jewelry of Fenwick Island is located in the Village of Fenwick at 300 Coastal Highway, #10. For more information, call (302) 539-2242 or visit sophiasfinejewelry.com. The store’s Facebook page can be found by visiting www.facebook.com/sophiasfinejewelry.


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    Artists find that their work is more expressive, energetic, soulful and successful, when they paint what they love. For the January/February’s exhibit theme, Gallery One partners painted subjects that were special to them.

    Lesley McCaskill’s watercolor, is titled “Moored by the Canal.” When she paints outdoors, McCaskill says, her senses are heightened. She wants the viewer to feel the solid, anchored boat in contrast to the waving grasses and wispy moving clouds. She asks the viewer to imagine the fishermen’s voices, the singing of birds, the water lapping the shore, while enjoying the smell of the sea. Nothing compares to painting on location.

    Peggy Warfield’s collage/mixed media piece, “Light in the Trees,” tells the viewer that her back yard with birds and trees and marshlands and bays is a place close to her heart.

    Orange, blue and green Adirondack chairs face the sea in Aubre Duncan’s watercolor, “Reserved.”

    Duncan loves to paint simple colors and shapes that tell a story. The empty chair invites the viewer to sit and enjoy the view.

    Sonia Hunt loves to travel and to paint what she experiences. This month she takes the viewer to Venice and a gondola drifting down a sunlit canal in “Into the Light.”

    Awed by the beauty of the tulips in the gardens of Keukenhof in the Netherlands, Dale Sheldon was inspired and challenged to capture a fleeting moment of light and color. She did. Her mixed-media painting, “Tulips from Amsterdam,” is bold, bright yellow and minimal.

    In her travels, Laura Hickman loves to find new places to paint. This month she captured reds. golds and lavenders of the sunlit houses on a hill in Sintra, Portugal.

    Just west of the Delaware beaches, Joyce Condry found cornfields to paint. She says “The colors change from August green to autumn gold and lots of shades in-between. It’s the in-between colors that I like best.” Her pastel is titled “Delaware Farm.”

    Cheryl Wisbrock loves painting familiar beaches and marshes. This month her image is of the Bethany area marsh and wetlands as seen from across the Salt Pond. She calls her watercolor “The View From Here.”

    Rina Thaler explains, “On an recent trip to Amsterdam, I became enthralled with the canals and the way they represent looking through time to the Amsterdam of the 1600s. While life in that city is so progressive in many ways, many of the buildings, bridges and canals have been the same for 400 years.” Her mixed-media piece is titled “Looking Through.”

    Tara Grim painted “Traghetto-San Sofia” on Venice’s Grand Canal. She used the dining room in their palazzo as a make-shift artists’ studio. Looking below her she watched the San Sofia traghetto. It is one of the few local gondolas that ferries locals from one side of the canal to the other and all passengers stand during the crossing, somewhat like 10 people standing on a paddleboard.

    This is a 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 and to visit the special display of fine artistries by local artisans who specialize in pottery, jewelry, blown glass, weaving and wood artwork. The gallery is always staffed by one of the artists and is open daily, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

    Visit Gallery One’s website (www.galleryonede.com) for more information and the opportunity to sign up for monthly e-blasts, or call the gallery at (302) 537-5055.

    The Gallery is located at 32 Atlantic Avenue (Route 26) in Ocean View.


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    Beginning in the latter part of the 19th century and early 20th century, the state of Virginia set aside a Friday in January as a holiday in remembrance of two Southern Civil War heroes, Robert E. Lee and Thomas J. “Stonewall” Jackson. Subsequently, Lee-Jackson Day became part of the landscape in other states, including here in Delaware.

    Both Lee and Jackson were Virginians by birth and served as generals in the Confederate army during the four-year war, 1861-1865. This year, the holiday falls on Friday, Jan. 16, in Virginia; however, in Delaware the celebration will take place on Saturday, Jan. 17, from noon to 3 p.m. in Georgetown at the Marvel Carriage Museum.

    Lee-Jackson Day, as a holiday, evolved over time in Virginia. It began with observance of Lee’s birthday on Jan. 19 in 1889. Jackson’s remembrance was added to the holiday in 1904. Much later, after Martin Luther King Day became a federal holiday on Jan. 15 in 1983, the two holidays eventually were celebrated on the same weekend, with Lee-Jackson Day on Friday and King’s holiday on the following Monday.

    Nearly 150 years since the end of the Civil War, Lee and Jackson are not the household names they were in earlier days. However, over the years, various monuments and memorials have been dedicated to Robert E Lee and Stonewall Jackson.

    Lee led the Army of Northern Virginia from June 1, 1862, through many fierce battles, including the Battle of Gettysburg, but eventually was forced to surrender at Appomattox Court House on April 9, 1865. Lee was known for his brilliant strategy and audacity in combat — particularly during the Seven Days Battle in 1862 and the Battle of Chancellorsville in 1863.

    Lee held the distinction of being the only person to be offered the command of two opposing armies. Before the Civil War began, newly-elected President Abraham Lincoln offered Lee command of the Union army. After considerable soul-searching, however, Lee chose to cast his lot with his home state of Virginia and eventually the Confederate States of America.

    Lee is memorialized for his life and military service in a variety of ways. In Richmond, an equestrian monument was unveiled May 29, 1890, on Monument Avenue. Rising high above the street, it faces South, depicting Lee holding the reigns of his bowing horse. Another monument dedicated to Lee is a 60-foot statue of his likeness in New Orleans.

    A “shrine” dedicated to Stonewall Jackson is located in Caroline County. This is a small building on a former plantation where Jackson was taken after being mortally wounded during the battle at Chancellorsville. Lingering for six days, Jackson succumbed on May 10, 1863. The restored building is open to the public.

    West Virginia’s Stonewall Jackson State Park is also named for the general. He was born in Clarksburg — at the time still part of the state of Virginia.

    In Delaware, the Delaware Greys, Sons of Confederate Veterans, Camp 2068, and the Caleb Ross Daughters of Confederate Veterans, #2635, based in Seaford, have been celebrating Lee-Jackson Day for the past 10 years, and are co-sponsoring the event this year. Ceremonies will begin at the Delaware Confederate Veterans Monument on the grounds of the Marvel Carriage Museum at noon (but will take place inside the museum).

    Events will include speakers from the membership of Camp 2068 who will honor the lives and accomplishments of Lee and Jackson. In addition, a relic table of original Confederate artifacts will be on display. Refreshments will be served after conclusion of the ceremonies at 3 p.m.

    Jeffrey Plummer, commander of SCV Camp 2068, welcomes members of the public to participate in this event. The Marvel Carriage Museum is located at 510 South Bedford Street, Georgetown, DE 19947. For more information, call (302) 381-0785.

    Bethany Beach resident Thomas J. Ryan is the author of “Essays on Delaware during the Civil War” (available at Bethany Beach Books). Contact him at
    pennmardel@mchsi.com, or visit his website at www.tomryan-civilwar.com.


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    Having run opposed for his second term representing Delaware’s 38th District, Ron Gray is ready to get more involved in the state legislature and Republican Caucus.

    Ron GrayRon Gray“As a freshman, I was kinda on the fringes to making decisions,” he said. “I feel much more comfortable going into this.”

    The 148th state legislative session begins with a clean slate, so new legislators were sworn in, and returning members will begin writing new bills or resubmitting those that failed in previous years.

    Gray plans to keep the public informed with regular public meetings.

    Public safety

    Gray recently gathered stakeholders in a discussion of how to improve police coverage in southeastern Sussex County.

    Many of the area’s municipalities have their own police force, but the Delaware State Police cover all unincorporated lands outside of town limits, as well as some municipalities that don’t have their own police departments. Sometimes there are even pockets of unincorporated land within a municipality where property owners do not wish to be annexed and fall under DSP jurisdiction.

    When people call 911 within DSP jurisdiction, they may wait several hours for a trooper to respond, depending on the situation. Municipal police often say they’ll all come running for serious crime, even outside of town limits.

    “If you got a burglary going on, the state police or local police will be there pretty quickly,” Gray said.

    But they’re not going to respond to something minor outside of town, and the DSP might not investigate that busted mailbox until the next morning.

    Gray said he believes the DSP does a great job in their work.

    “I think it’s more an educational thing, especially for folks that aren’t from this area and live in an unincorporated area. They might have lived here five years and never had a reason to call,” Gray said. Then he said, they get “get an uncomfortable feeling that public safety is not as high as they thought.

    “The last thing you want to do is alarm people,” he added. “You probably have a state police car roaming five miles around your house” at any given time.

    There is no plan to create a new county police agency, but, perhaps, to improve current funding or manpower.

    Gray’s predecessor as 38th District representative (and now state Sen.) Gerald Hocker had hosted this same discussion 15 years ago, Gray said. The district’s population has leapt since then.

    “I think that’s going to be ongoing. We came up with a bunch of questions that day. I’ve got to figure out who on that committee’s going to answer those,” he said.

    “I feel we don’t have real severe problem here, apart from the drug thing.”

    Drugs and jobs

    In Baltimore, Gray attended a Council of State Governments (CSG) meeting regarding drugs.

    “This heroin epidemic is terrible. I think anybody can get addicted. It’s not just an evil person,” he said. “It’s across the board. It affects everybody.

    Gray said he believes that one solution could be to create more jobs.

    “If I’m kinda bored, I don’t have anything to do, and somebody says, ‘Let’s get high…’” But he said he believes steady employment could keep people stable.

    “We gotta get more jobs that are available to everyone, [which leads to] more taxes to provide the services we all want,” including more police coverage.

    Gray said he isn’t 100 percent sure of the answer for how to jumpstart the job market. But a big company, such as the former Seaford DuPont plant, could turn a whole area around. He said the schools and economy were thriving in western Sussex County during the DuPont heyday.

    But how could the area attract thousands of white- and blue-collar jobs?

    “I don’t know how to get there,” he admitted. “It’s hard for Delaware to compete, as a small state.”

    Although Delaware is known for low taxes, Gray said he has heard that electric costs are high because Delaware mostly imports electricity from other states.

    One idea is to encourage small business and sell Sussex County as a great place to live.

    “We need to talk about all the best things we do here. I think the population is caring here, not cutthroat. It’s a great place to raise your kids and retire.”

    Aquaculture and other committees

    The Delaware State Legislature will meet in Dover for several weeks. Then, during a six-week break, the budget is drafted and bond bills reviewed. The legislative session then continues until July 1, with three more breaks throughout.

    Gray serves on six House committees, including Housing & Community Affairs; Revenue & Finance; Veterans Affairs; and Labor.

    Gray said he especially enjoys serving on the House committee for Economic Development/Banking/Insurance/Commerce “because it’s focuses on small business, because that’s what I am,” a small-business owner, he said. So he gets to study matters when issues arise, such as minimum wage.

    The Natural Resources committee oversaw the state’s new aquaculture bill, which was a hit with legislators for starting a Delaware aquaculture industry and the bonus of helping filter the bays.

    However, the public has recently expressed its concern with the aquaculture locations proposed by the Department of Natural Resources & Environmental Control.

    But the ball is now in the court of U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which would decide whether to issue DNREC a permit for inland bays aquaculture. Many are waiting with bated breath for public record for that permitting process to officially open.

    “We’re watching it carefully. As soon as that happens, we’re going to try to notify all those people,” Gray said. “I really feel the people have legitimate concerns about the locations that DNREC has chosen.”

    People are worried about having shellfish cages and boats in areas traditionally used for recreation, especially along the eastern shore of the Little Assawoman Bay and the southeast corner of Indian River Bay, called Beach Cove.

    Gray has more questions to ask, and he said he figures he and Hocker will send an official comment, but “I want to make sure the public has an opportunity to submit all their concerns.”

    Most citizens aren’t against aquaculture, he noted, because of its economic and ecological benefits. They just don’t like the locations. Gray said he is certain there must be an amicable solution.

    “When you look at this big footprint, it’s scary. But when it starts out, it’s probably going to be very small,” just a few fishermen to start, he noted.

    “It’s a good thing to have, he said. “Just gotta make sure not impacting the state of the bays.”

    Other waterways

    In an effort to improve local waterways, Gray joined committee that just released a preliminary report with about nine ideas to pay for continued maintenance.

    The Delaware Waterways Management & Financing Advisory Committee (which includes Hocker) has brainstormed ways to help DNREC pay for maintenance to navigable Delaware channels, from which the Army Corps of Engineers and U.S. Coast Guard are backing away.

    “I think one of the real important one is dredging. It cleans up the water because it allows extra flow … to flush the waters out to the oceans. It enables boaters to safely navigate the waterways,” Gray said. “We need to do things to continue to protect them … to make the oysters and clams and water live, and they’re safe to swim in and get fish out of.”

    Rather than approach the state bond committee for piecemeal funding each year, DNREC estimated that it needs $3 million to $5 million annually for maintenance.

    With a funding mechanism in place, DNREC could plan long-term.

    “Going forward, I think we need to have a commitment of funds to help maintain our inland bays,” which might include dredging or shoreline protection to prevent erosion.

    “If we do come up with sources of funding, it only gets used to support this initiative, like dredging. That seems to be hard in government” because a growing pot of money is attractive to other initiatives in trouble.

    The committee is expected to begin meeting again, armed with various funding options, to consider the next step of action.

    Bipartisanship

    “There’s some people who say there’s one-party rule” because Republicans only hold about 39 percent of seats in either chamber of the state House of Representatives, Gray noted. But the Republican Party picked up two House seats and one Senate seat in the 2014 election, so Democrats no longer hold a clear two-thirds majority.

    Gray said he believes bipartisan bills aren’t just a good idea, but a necessity for Republicans.

    “We don’t have much choice. When I look at the bills we get through,” 11 might be Democrat-sponsored, and one by a Republican.

    “I’ve learned if I want to get something done, go across the aisle. Hopefully, if it’s a good idea,” he said, it will catch on.

    “Do I think we work together? I’m optimistic we can. I get along with the Speaker,” and will discuss ideas with him. “Is it partisan? To certain degree, I guess. But I think Democrats and Republicans realize we need jobs. We need a lot for Delaware to go forward.”

    Last year’s legislative session had a lot of social bills (such as marriage equality) that were contentious, Gray said.

    “I don’t think you can dwell on that. If you’ve got a good initiative, you gotta make sure [to work together]. You can’t expect to go forward on any issue alone.”

    Although he first sought office in 2012 with an agenda of curtailing government regulations, several new ones have occurred, such as for septic designs and stormwater. While he admitted that septic systems are must be carefully maintained, he said he doesn’t want the regulations to scare anyone away.

    The legislative team

    With two more seats, House Republicans have secured funding for another legislative assistant. (Each assistant covers several legislators.)

    “They do constituent support. I get an email, and someone’s got a problem on healthcare, drainage … I’ll look at it. If I can answer or get back quickly [I will].” Otherwise, he forwards the matter for an aide to further research, he said.


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    Attorney General Matt Denn, state Sens. Bruce Ennis and Margaret Rose Henry and Rep. Larry Mitchell announced legislation Monday designed to guarantee prison time for offenders caught with guns they are prohibited having by law because of prior violent crimes.

    The bill is designed to close a loophole regarding people prohibited from possessing, purchasing, or owning a firearm because of violent crimes they committed when they were 16 or 17 years old. The bill establishes a minimum mandatory prison sentence for those adults with guns, a provision not currently in Delaware law because a juvenile’s conviction for a violent crime cannot currently be taken into account once that person is an adult.

    With the new bill, a juvenile adjudication for a violent felony by a 16- or 17-year-old, followed by a conviction as an adult for illegal firearm possession, would result in the same minimum mandatory time as if the violent felony had been committed as an adult.

    The bill will also establish minimum mandatory sentences for those repeatedly convicted of illegally carrying firearms, even if the reason they were prohibited was not for committing a violent felony.

    Title 11, Section 1448, of the Delaware Code has a list of offenses — felonies, misdemeanors, and non-criminal acts — for which a conviction results in a person being barred. Currently, a person prohibited from having a firearm for reasons other than commission of a violent felony doesn’t face a minimum mandatory sentence, even if he has been convicted multiple times.

    “This bill is important because it targets minimum mandatory time at the individuals who law enforcement believes are causing a significant portion of our street violence: young adults carrying guns, who already have prior violent histories as 16- and 17-year-olds,” said Denn. “It will also allow us to have a strong, consistent message as prosecutors: If you have committed a violent crime and you are caught carrying a gun, you are going to do time.”

    The bill is similar to House Bill 73 from the last General Assembly session, which passed the House 40-1 and was released from Senate committee, with the exception that the bill will be limited to violent offenses committed by those 16 or 17 years old, and not include offenses from when someone is 15 or younger.

    “As a former police officer and the chair of the Senate’s Adult & Juvenile Corrections Committee, I know that many of our violent crimes are being committed by repeat offenders,” said Ennis. “This bill makes sure we’re holding people responsible who don’t learn from mistakes made at an age when they’re old enough to know better.”

    “I believe in second-chances,” said Henry, chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, “but when someone already convicted of a violent crime as a 16- or 17-year-old goes down that same path again as an adult, there’s reason to believe they are a real threat to our community and we need to protect the public.”

    Mitchell, a retired New Castle County police officer and chair of the House Public Safety & Homeland Security Committee, said the legislation will help curb gun violence and make communities safer by getting repeat offenders off our streets.

    “People who repeatedly use guns when committing crimes are not making a mistake. They are making a conscious decision to carry a deadly weapon,” said Mitchell. “With the spike of gun violence in recent years, illegal gun possession must be a focus of our efforts. We cannot allow people who repeatedly commit these crimes to avoid a prison sentence on a technicality. By closing these loopholes, we will be taking an important step in stemming the tide by making sure that repeat offenders serve time in prison.”

    In addition to Ennis and Henry, and Mitchell, co-sponsors of the legislation will include: Sens. Patricia Blevins, Colin Bonini, Bethany Hall-Long, Ernesto Lopez, Robert Marshall, Brian Pettyjohn, Nicole Poore, and David Sokola, and Reps. Michael Barbieri, Stephanie Bolden, Quinn Johnson, Sean Lynn, Sean Matthews, Edward Osienski, Charles Potter Jr., Michael Ramone, Bryon Short, Daniel Short and Kimberly Williams.


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    The Sussex County Council this week heard a presentation regarding the Delaware Downtown Development District program.

    The Down Town Development District Act was created in 2014 by the state legislature to leverage state resources in a limited number of designated areas in Delaware’s cities and towns to spur private investment in commercial business districts and other neighborhoods, while improving the commercial vitality.

    “This is the first time we’ve seen an administration step on board from a state perspective to support development and redevelopment in our downtowns,” said Diane Laird, the Delaware Economic Development Office’s (DEDO’s) Downtown Delaware coordinator. “The primary reason purpose behind the DDD is to spur capital investment. This is the State coming behind city governments and private investors to encourage investment in our downtowns throughout the state.”

    Laird said the program was modeled after a very successful program in Virginia, which only focused on commercial redevelopment.

    “[Delaware’s program] is to assist municipalities and strengthen neighborhoods,” said Laird. “It’s easier to recruit new businesses to the state when we have strong downtowns that provide good quality of life.”

    According to the Delaware State Housing Authority, “eligibility for the District Grant is based on Qualified Real Property Investments (QRPI) made to commercial, industrial, residential, and mixed-use buildings or facilities located within the boundaries of a District. Qualified District Investors making a QRPI are entitled to a District Grant in an amount up to 20 percent of the QRPI in excess of the Minimum Qualified Investment Threshold of $25,000…

    “Qualified District Investors making QRPIs are entitled to a District Grant in an amount of 20 percent of the QRPI in excess of the Minimum Qualified Investment Threshold up to $500,000 per building or facility. District Grants in excess of $500,000 will be calculated at a lower rate up to an additional $500,000 for a maximum District Grant of $1,000,000.”

    The grant is limited to $1,000,000 per building or facility within a five-consecutive-year period starting with the year in which a grant was first awarded.

    In its first round, the State received nine grant applications, all of which “required a plan and a vision for a designated area.”

    Laird said this year, Wilmington, Seaford and Dover received grants from the State, chosen by Gov. Jack Markell.

    “These are our state’s first three designated districts, one in each county,” she said. “We anticipate additional ones as funds are made available. We don’t have a time frame... it is a periodic addition of communities.”

    She added that the program can provide a bridge for a gap in financing that may not otherwise be bridged.

    “This is intended to be a very long-term program.”

    Councilman Sam Wilson asked Laird where the money to fund the act was coming from.

    “It’s $7,000 from the legislature,” she said.

    Wilson questioned how the grant would benefit the average taxpayer.

    “The bottom line — a strong downtown is enjoyed by the masses,” responded Laird. “If a building is worth $100,000 and needs $250,000 in improvements, they’re never going to make a change, and then we, as a state, suffer with poor downtowns.”

    Wilson said the he had concerns with the program due to how it is funded.

    “It sounds lovely to help other people, but in order to help you have to take money from somebody else, and not everyone is rich.”

    “I’m of the opinion that a strong downtown helps everyone,” said Laird.

    Councilman Rob Arlett said he understood that the council was receiving an informal presentation and thanked Laird for her time.

    “I would say, I want to commend the governor and the State for putting a focus on economic development. I think it’s very vital that our residents have opportunity in Sussex County.”

    Sussex County Economic Development Director Melody Booker-Wilkins informed council that the Kent County Levy Court has allotted $200,000 from their General Fund Realty Transfer Tax Reserves to the General Government Capital Projects fund.

    “It’s a matching grant incentive that is to be utilized in the designated Downtown District,” she said. “Kent County’s match will represent 50 cents for every dollar in State grant awarded, up to a maximum of $10,000 per investment.”

    Councilwoman Joan Deaver asked if Kent County was “unique” in the matching grant idea.

    Booker-Wilkins said that, so far, she is only aware of Kent County coming forward to complement the existing program.

    “I’m so pleased we’re putting some focus on Sussex County’s economic development,” said Arlett, “because we must do a better job and create some private-sector jobs, and help our residents.

    “It does slightly concern me about the grants,” he acknowledged. “I think I’m more of the mindset that it’s maybe a loan of sorts. I think in the business world there is no free lunch, and I think it also provides an incentive to the business owner if they go out and create and produce, versus being given something.

    “But I think we’re moving in the right direction. We’re at least having a dialogue… So we’re grateful for that.”.


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    With 2015 in full swing, local Chambers of Commerce are geared up for a new year and reflecting on a successful 2014.

    Last year, the Bethany-Fenwick Area Chamber of Commerce welcomed a number of new faces, including Executive Director Kristie Maravalli, who joined the Chamber originally as director of membership.

    “Honestly, the year itself was the highlight,” said Maravalli. “There had been some turnover prior to this year in our offices, and it felt like we were able to steady the ship. We made some great strides, and all of our events were very well run and they were well attended.

    “It’s exciting now that we’ve all been here for a year that we can really start putting our mark on it a little bit more.”

    The Bethany-Fenwick Chamber started two new ventures in 2014 that Maravalli hopes will continue.

    “We started a Prime for Maturity group, which deals with elder-care and retirement that we’ll be building. We did a marketing series for our members that was very informational, and a free resource, as well.

    “We did it everywhere from the Dickens Parlour Theatre to the new hotel in Bethany. It was pretty neat how you can piggyback with other businesses and/or events to market your business. We were really happy with that.”

    In the coming year, Maravalli said, the Chamber plans to launch a revamped website, to really “push the Quiet Resorts.”

    “We’re also working to be a better small-business resource. I feel that’s an opportunity where we have an opportunity to grow. We’re doing a big workshop in March, and we’ll be partnering with SCOAR (Sussex County Association of Realtors) in the fall for another seminar. Those are the two things that we have on our plate now.”

    Currently, the Chamber has more than 700 members, whom Maravalli said benefit from the various activities organized by the Chamber.

    “Our networking events are tremendous. If you look at any one of our members who attend between five to 10 networking events a year, it really helps promote their business. If our members work their membership, it really works for them. We get that from a lot of different businesses who belong to different Chambers in the area — that networking is really a strength of ours,” she said.

    We really do try to serve as an advocate. We’re very active in the State Route 26 project, making sure that businesses’ needs are being heard and taken care of, when possible.”

    Maravalli said the Chamber team has “a lot of fun” in their job, with an internal mission to help connect members, and she noted that new members are always welcome.

    “People should come visit us. We have one of the best workspaces in the area. We love visitors. Everyone is welcome to come down and visit us and see what we’re all about.”

    The Greater Millsboro Chamber of Commerce also had a successful 2014, with signature events including the second annual Millsboro Country Festival and the Central Sussex Bridal Show.

    “Overall, I think we did well this year with the events that we had and membership,” said Executive Director Amy Simmons. “I think all of the events we had last year were very successful. Starting off with the bridal show, we had over 40 vendors here and 70-some brides, with each bringing one or more people with them. We had a great turnout with that.”

    This year marks the 20th anniversary of the bridal show, which will be held on March 15 with the theme “A Platinum Affair.”

    “We’re really going to try to make this one special,” said Simmons, adding that there would be door prizes, a bridal fashion show and dozens of vendors.

    Simmons said the Chamber’s annual Easter Egg Hunt had more than 300 kids attend in 2014. The annual golf tournament at Baywood Greens was well attended, as well.

    Currently, Simmons said, the Chamber has approximately 170 members.

    “I’m hoping for an increase in membership,” she said, noting that the Chamber offers a number of advertising opportunities to its members. “We do provide quite a few opportunities for reduced-cost advertising on our website. There are always opportunities to help sponsor events.

    New in 2015, Simmons said, the Chamber will be hosting a business expo in April.

    “I’m excited about that,” she said. “One of the board members, Kevin Turner, had suggested it to me, and it had been suggested it the past.”

    During the year, Simmons said, she hopes the Chamber will be a resource to the downtown area becoming revitalized.

    “I would really like to work on trying to boost the downtown. We’ve got some great businesses, and we’ve got great restaurants downtown. We’d just like to see a few more businesses come in.”

    Simmons said she is happy with the successes of the Chamber in 2014 and looks forward to its successes in 2015.

    “I hope we continue the success that we’ve had. I want to see the Chamber grow,” said Simmons. “Overall, we had a successful year, and the board has been pleased with the past year and is looking forward to another successful year.”

    For more information on the Bethany-Fenwick Chamber of Commerce, visit www.bethanyfenwick.org or call (302) 539-2100. The Bethany-Fenwick Chamber is located at 36913 Coastal Highway, just north of Fenwick Island. For more information on the Greater Millsboro Chamber of Commerce, visit www.millsborochamber.com or call (302) 934-6777. The Greater Millsboro Chamber of Commerce is located in the Millsboro Town Center at 322 Wilson Highway, in downtown Millsboro.


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    The Town of Ocean View will be reviewing the micro-resurfacing done in a number of town developments in 2013, after receiving a letter from Kent Liddle, president of The Village at Bear Trap Dunes Owners Association.

    “The Board of Directors of Bear Trap Dunes has maintained since early in the resurfacing project that the application to the surface was not properly done,” wrote Liddle in the Jan. 1 letter. “The surface continues to ‘peel’ and release sand and aggregate at an alarming rate. We fear it is entering the sewer system, as well as possibly reaching our many beautiful ponds.”

    Liddle stated that the Board of Directors has retained Hillis-Carnes Engineering Associates “to evaluate the situation.”

    “It’s their belief and our belief that there was something wrong with the roads that were done in May 2013,” said Liddle to town council members at the Jan. 13 council meeting.

    Liddle said that if one travels through Bear Trap today, they would notice the issue.

    “It’s a continuing problem, and we wanted to bring it to your attention.”

    Liddle added that there is a three-year warranty for the work that was done on the road.

    “I would urge council, if you feel you have the ability to do so, to file a warranty [claim] at least to protect ourselves to show there’s a problem. If we wait another six, nine months, it’s going to be three years.”

    The council asked Liddle if there is a noticeable difference between the 2014 work versus the May 2013 work.

    “Night and day,” responded Liddle.

    Councilman Bob Lawless recommended that the Town review all the work done in 2013 on Town roads and file a warranty claim if necessary.

    Town Administrative Official Charles McMullen said he had sent Liddle’s letter to the Town’s engineer and will provide their response to the council and Liddle once it is received.

    “We all know there was a difference in the quarry from where they acquired the aggregate that was used in the 2013 streetscaping project,” added McMullen. “It’s a lighter aggregate. What’s coming up looks like sand; it’s aggregate nonetheless, and Mr. Liddle is right — it’s still leaching out now, two years later.”

    “We will expand this look to everywhere they did work that year,” said Mayor Walter Curran.

    Police department receives County grants

    Curran also announced on Jan. 13 that the Ocean View Police Department would be receiving an additional $10,000 from Sussex County.

    “Council understands the importance of public safety,” wrote County Administrator Todd Lawson in his letter to the Town, “and that is why they would like to grant your municipality an additional $10,000 for the Local Law Enforcement Grant. This is a one-time grant that will be added to the already budgeted $25,000 to your respective municipality for FY2015.”

    Lawson added that the grant money would need to be spent by June 30, 2015.

    Police Chief Ken McLaughlin noted that the County also granted the department $750 to help offset the cost of the department’s Narcan program, which allows officers to carry and administer the opiate-overdose treatment.

    “I do plan on making an effort to attend the next County Council meeting to thank them in person,” he said.

    “This is good news, obviously,” said Curran. “We very much appreciate it.”

    “During his campaign, George Cole indicated that he would work diligently to support the interests of the Town of Ocean View and, in fact, here’s the first time he’s delivered on his promise,” said Lawless.

    Curran added that the Town will also be receiving a similar grant from the County not specifically allocated for law enforcement.

    The council took the opportunity to praise McLaughlin and the department for their diligence in making the Town a great place to live and visit.

    “The best part of it all is that, with all that is going on in the country right now, it paints a really good picture of our police department.”

    “Ocean View Police is one of the best small agencies in the United States,” added Lawless. “Its training level is second to none. I don’t know any other agency that has its officers undergoing training almost all the time. In fact, I was made aware that the State’s protocol for the use of Narcan had its genesis in Ocean View PD. We are blessed.”

    In other Town news:

    • A budget workshop will be held on Jan. 27 at 6 p.m. at town hall for the 2016 fiscal year, to review the first draft using the financial model.

    • Town Manager Diane Vogel said EVOGov will present a new design concept for the Town’s website in the near future.

    • Vogel said the bid for Phase I of the Assawoman Canal Trail has been awarded to Grassbusters Inc., with a bid just under $700,000. Once the contract is signed, they will submit construction specifications to the Delaware Department of Natural Resources & Environmental Control’s engineering consultant for review and approval. Construction is anticipated to begin by late-February.

    • Vogel said the Town’s Holiday in the Park event was a “huge success.”

    “We had a great turnout thanks to the good weather,” she said, adding that the Town was thankful for those who volunteered, along with the participation of Curran and Lawless.

    “I very much enjoyed being backup singer to our lead baritone [Bob Lawless],” said Curran of caroling in the park during the event.

    He added that he was surprised to see so many young families in Town participating in the holiday event.

    “It was so good to see so many young families here. The place was mobbed; it was a great time,” he said. “They had a really big crowd… It looks like Ocean View is going to catch on.”


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    Although the Indian River School District has finished the first leg of the sex-education marathon by drafting a new high school curriculum, the next hurdle looms, with a public forum. Fulfilling a promise made to the public by district officials, the forum is scheduled for Thursday, Jan. 22, at 7 p.m. at Millsboro Middle School.

    The public is welcome to attend.

    “District officials will give a brief presentation about the high school health curriculum before accepting questions and public comments,” IRSD officials announced this week.

    “This is an opportunity for us to show the public that were not doing anything in secret,” said IRSD Board Member Shaun Fink, an active (and at times, controversial) subcommittee member. “I really think we’ve got a winning curriculum here.”

    “The goal of a comprehensive sexual health education program is to help students learn the facts and to make good decisions now, and later in life,” reads the draft letter to parents.

    People can see drafts of the health curriculum available online under the “Links” section of www.irsd.net.

    “Please look at it, read it, be involved with [your] child’s education,” said LouAnn Hudson, director of curriculum and instruction. “I hope if they have concerns, they would let us know.”

    Parents can opt out of having their children in the classroom for part or all of sex-ed. But State law requires students to learn health standards. Additionally, student knowledge is part of teacher assessments.

    Hudson said she hopes that, in cases where children are pulled from the class, families would help the schools find an alternative lesson. That way, she said, students can “still be exposed to the information in a way that the parent finds appropriate and the parents can be a part of it, so there is an adult guiding that education.”

    Millsboro Middle School is located at 302 East State Street in Millsboro. The forum will be held in the school’s auditorium.

    At this point, the subcommittee and the IRSD Curriculum Committee have approved the curriculum, so they don’t expect revisions, unless something major comes up.

    Instead, the proposed curriculum lies in the hands of the IRSD Board of Education, for discussion and possible vote on Monday, Jan. 26, at 7 p.m. at Indian River High School.

    Curriculum is mostly abstinence and mostly liked by committee

    The forum was scheduled in part because students and citizens have repeatedly overflowed the regular public comment time at board meetings with their concerns about the curriculum’s content.

    Sex-ed is a delicate subject, as the Health Curriculum Subcommittee worked for months to balance state and federal education requirements with the local community’s values.

    “Sexuality is a very complex thing. It’s not merely the act itself,” said Will Revels, supervisor of secondary instruction.

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

    If and when students decide to have sex, the final few lessons cover methods of birth control.

    There will be no demonstrations of prophylactics (like, notably, putting a condom on a banana).

    Outside of the boardroom, Fink has openly shared his personal preference for abstinence-only education, as well as his preference for the exclusion of topics including homosexuality and bisexuality, based on his own Christian beliefs.

    “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 had said.

    Hudson said she believes the curriculum does not advocate anyone’s sexuality, but presents neutral facts. As a teacher resource, teachers can use Merriam-Webster dictionary definitions, to prevent any perceived “bias.”

    That makes them able to adequately explain terms that students ask about, such as “sexual abstinence, hormones, sexual health, sexting, STD, bisexual, homosexual, straight, transgender, masculinity, femininity, gender roles” and much more.

    Although Fink said he doesn’t love every aspect of the curriculum, “I appreciate the process and everybody that’s come here.”

    Some of those who agree with Fink’s conservative take on some of the issues involved in the curriculum disagreed about the process, however.

    “I have not appreciated the process along the way,” countered Maria Johnson, who said she has sometimes felt maligned during the discussions, due to her faith. “I think it’s been ugly and inappropriate.”

    Faith-related concerns have been at the core of the sex-ed curriculum discussion, especially during public comments at the board meetings. Johnson said she doesn’t want to see that in schools. She asked about protections for students, based on their faith.

    “People who are religious — they’re not being bullied the way LGBT [students] are,” said Sussex Central High School health teacher Kathie Collins.

    “I had my church door smashed in, threats against my life — so people do get bullied for their faith,” Fink had said earlier.

    “I just see the kids,” Collins said.

    The very first lesson in the curriculum teaches that all students have different backgrounds and that their values are influenced by factors such as faith, family and personal experience. Students are expected to respect each other, despite differences in their values or faiths.

    Although committee discussions were occasionally heated, most members said they felt that it was ultimately respectful and that they believed a good compromise was reached, for a solid curriculum.

    New notes were added to the curriculum, emphasizing concerns that the committee had (topics to emphasize or activities to avoid).

    But, as a community member and “woman of God,” Johnson said her aim is “to protect the children.”

    “I think this curriculum is going the wrong direction. I know we’re trying to make it work, though,” Johnson said. “I think comprehensive sex-education courses have been silent on vital issues like casual sex, intimacy, dating” and more emotional issues regarding intimacy.

    She said she also felt that parent communication was lacking.

    Other people said they felt that the curriculum often encourages students to speak with parents. Teachers can also refer students to a nurse or counselor for deeper personal issues, such as concerns about pregnancy or sexuality. (Collins has said that, realistically, teenagers say they don’t always approach their parents.)

    Meanwhile, relationships are covered earlier in the school year — just not in sex-ed. That includes friendship, dating and how to end unhealthy relationships.

    After the vote

    Much conversation remains. The middle school curriculum hasn’t been covered yet. Plus, the district must brainstorm alternative lessons for students opted-out of sex-ed. Parents would receive a letter about the curriculum in August, and they’re welcome to contact the schools with any questions.

    Even with an approved curriculum, like any subject area, health teachers will meet regularly to share ideas and develop their own lesson plans.

    Planning a curriculum may sound dry, but the overall education of the students is bigger than that.

    “It’s all in the magic of what a teacher does in a classroom. … It’s magic when a teacher does it and has class discussion. I think you’d be proud of what a lot of our kids say and come up with in class,” Hudson said.


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    With the influenza A (H3N2) viruses sickening many people around the country, medical professionals have been urging community members to get their flu shots this year.

    “I recommend everyone get a flu shot,” said Dr. Nicole Alu, a family physician with Peninsula Regional Medical Center in Laurel, Del. “I think it’s the best protection.”

    According to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, seasonal flu is a contagious respiratory illness caused by flu viruses. Approximately 5 to 20 percent of U.S. residents get the flu each year.

    “Compared to the last several years, this has been a very busy flu season, and I think difficult,” said Alu, noting it can be challenging to treat the public with the high influx of patients wanting to see their physicians.

    On Jan. 12, Delaware Public Health Division Director Dr. Karyl Rattay released a statement noting that Delaware has had unusually high numbers of lab-confirmed flu cases and deaths this season.

    “To date, Delaware has 1,340 lab-confirmed cases and 11 deaths; both numbers are significantly higher than previous recent years. Those being particularly hard hit are youth — almost half of the lab-confirmed cases are young (infants to those age 24) and the elderly. (All but one of the fatalities are persons over the age of 70). The other fatality was 53 years old. All of the fatalities had underlying medical conditions.”

    Influenza may be contracted through “droplets,” when a person with the flu coughs, sneezes or talks and droplets containing their germs land in the other person’s mouth or nose. People can also get the flu by touching a surface or object that has the flu virus on it and then touching their mouth, eyes or nose.

    “It’s going to be spread in droplet forms. If somebody is in those first five to seven days of the illness, they could potentially be contagious,” said Alu, “Your chances of getting the flu is very high.

    During the week of Dec. 21 through 27, the Center of Disease Control (CDC) reported that there were 370 laboratory-confirmed cases of influenza reported among Delawareans, with the level of influenza classified as “widespread,” meaning “Outbreaks of influenza or increases in ILI cases and recent laboratory-confirmed influenza in at least half the regions of the state with recent laboratory evidence of influenza in the state.”

    The CDC recommends that everyone 6 months or older, with rare exceptions, receive the annual flu vaccination.

    With the increased number of cases, area hospitals are doing what they can to lessen the chance for the virus to spread.

    PRMC Medical Center in Salisbury, Md., has restricted visitation to those who are 18 years of age or older, and requests that only two visitors be in a hospital room at any given time. Beebe Healthcare has also restricted visitors at its Lewes hospital to those 16 or older and prohibited anyone younger than 16 from even being left alone in its waiting areas.

    “If you’re not somebody who’s out and about, your exposure is probably going to occur when you go to the store or to church, family functions — especially around the holidays. I’ve still been giving [shots to] patients who haven’t had their shot — especially the high-risk people with chronic medical problems, like diabetes, heart disease, respiratory disease or asthma. If they come in and haven’t had their shots, I recommend it to them. I still have a lot of people who are happy to get them.”

    Bethany area resident Billie Criswell said she began showing flu symptoms after Thanksgiving.

    “I never get sick — ever,” said Criswell, who said she was ill for, “14 solid days. I couldn’t get out of bed for three or four of those days.”

    “I actually had to go to the doctor when it got so bad that I got the shingles, about three weeks after Thanksgiving,” she said. “My immune system had gotten so beat up from the flu, [my doctor] said that’s why I got the shingles.”

    Criswell said that while she was ill, she had a fever for days, muscle aches and weepy eyes.

    “I basically looked like someone punched me in both of my eyes. It was ridiculous,” she said. “It was a really bad flu.”

    Criswell said her doctor couldn’t prescribe her any medicine because she’s currently breastfeeding her 8-month-old daughter.

    “I’m taking a lot of vitamin C and a lot of natural home remedies,” said Criswell, adding that she grew up with her mother using homeopathic medicine.

    Criswell said she wasn’t the only person in her family who contracted influenza — her husband, mother, mother-in-law and even her daughter became ill.

    “We all got it,” she said. “It was the pits [but] I think everybody got it a little less worse.”

    Criswell said she never gets a flu shot and doesn’t plan to get a shot in future years.

    “The flu shot works for some people, just not for me.”

    Alu emphasized that she believes that getting a flu shot each year is the most effective way to prevent contracting influenza.

    “I think there are a lot of people that you can’t argue with, because they have their own view and their own experience with getting the flu shot, and I feel bad for them,” she said. “I go by the evidence-based medicine, and I think it’s far more beneficial than harmful.

    “I have seen a lot of people with the flu, but I haven’t gotten it myself, and I got my flu shot.”

    Alu said seeing a physician as soon as possible can be beneficial to those who may already have the flu, as doctors may prescribe Tamiflu, which is known to shorten the length of the illness and may be taken by those who are 2 weeks old or older.

    “They should get in touch with their provider within the first 24 to 48 hours, because if they’re able to start the medication, it’s going to be most effective if taken in those first few days,” said Alu. “The ones that are most at risk are the youngest people and the oldest people. Everyone is a candidate to take that medicine.”

    Those who have been exposed to someone with influenza also have the option to take other preventative measures, in addition to the flu shot.

    “If you have a family member who has been treated or tested positive for influenza, there is a prophylactic dose of Tamiflu that’s available, if you have a close contact — especially if you’re at high risk of getting it.”

    Last week, the Blood Bank of Delmarva began soliciting for more blood and platelet donors, due to the elevated number of flu cases.

    “Because of the holiday, a flu epidemic this winter and unusually high blood usage these past few weeks, current blood inventories are not adequate. Our greatest need is for O-negative, the universal blood type,” said Michael Waite, director of Marketing & Community Relations for Blood Bank of Delmarva.

    “But we really need donors of all blood types to call us or walk in to one of our centers this week. Platelet donors are also urged to schedule an appointment as soon as possible. Platelets have a shelf life of just five days, so it is imperative that we maintain an adequate supply.”

    Alu emphasized that it is important to speak with a physician if one has concerns regarding flu season and getting the vaccination.

    “There are ways to protect yourself and to treat it,” said Alu. “You have to be educated about what’s going on and talk to your doctor about what your concerns are.”

    For further information on the flu, visit flu.delaware.gov or call 1-800-282-8672. To donate blood through the Blood Bank of Delmarva, visit delmarvablood.org or call 1-888-825-6638.


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