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    More than a dozen signs spread across the two buildings of the new Bethany Beach Ocean Suites hotel on the town’s boardwalk were up for approval at the Non-Residential Design Review Committee (DRC) meeting on Feb. 13. Some of the signs were reviewed extensively and garnered suggestions for change from the committee, while others were approved with minimal discussion ahead of the hotel’s anticipated opening before the start of the 2015 summer season.

    Vice-Mayor Lew Killmer, chairman of the DRC, noted that the Town’s Planning Commission, which he also chairs, had been provided with an idea of what sorts of signage would be used for the hotel when it developed the code for signage in the new CL-1 Commercial Lodging district last year — a step that was needed, as the Town didn’t previously have any signage code for the CL-1 district.

    “That made it a lot easier to deal with it, because if we didn’t have that, we wouldn’t have a guide about how to move forward,” Killmer said of the ideas presented to the commissioners, calling it “very helpful.”

    With the code now in place for the CL-1 district, it was for the DRC to review the actual proposed signage for the hotel, which included 10 wall signs, two projecting signs and a hanging sign. DRC member Jim Weisgerber recused himself from the vote, citing his status as a tenant of hotel developer Jack Burbage, among other business relationships. Burbage and architect Jeff Schoellkopf presented drawings of the proposed signage and answered committee members’ questions.

    The first sign on the docket was the hotel’s primary wall sign, which will be placed on the gable on the north side of the primary, northern hotel building, visible from Garfield Parkway. The sign meets all requirements of the new CL-1 signage code, at 156 square feet, internally lit and yellow in color.

    “We looked at other communities that have hotels, and we saw that the initial request was well within the guidelines of other towns,” Killmer said, noting that neither the sign’s size, nor the lighting nor the lettering to be used were at issue. “I think it is quite attractive,” he added.

    Architect and DRC member John Hendrickson agreed, calling the sign “an enhancement to that wall.”

    Killmer asked whether the intention was to have the sign be illuminated 24 hours a day. Burbage said he imagined it would be put on a timer. Building Inspector Susan Frederick noted that it doesn’t directly face residential property, and Schoellkopf said that was intentional. The committee approved the sign unanimously, absent Weisgerber.

    Next on the list was a blade sign — a two-sided sign with 49 square feet of space on each side — that will be brown with gold lettering (the color scheme of much of the hotel’s signage) and hang 9 feet above the sidewalk and 2 feet off a column on the Atlantic Avenue side of the building, out to a point about 9 feet from the column, about 3 feet from the Town’s right-of-way.

    Committee members noted a potential discrepancy in terminology between the application and the code, which refers to such as sign as a “projecting sign.” Frederick said projecting signs are limited to two per building, with a maximum of 64 square feet per side, while blade signs are limited to 12 square feet.

    Schoellkopf noted that the sign is partly tucked under the building and would be further surrounded by nearby decks that project 3 to 4 feet out. It will be fixed and won’t swing. He said the intention was for the sign to be visible from a block south, as people would drive up to the hotel. While it does face into the residential area, he said, “It’s intended to be a classy, carved-letter, gold-leaf kind of sign.”

    Hendrickson noted potential problems with discussions of lighting in the future, as the increasingly common LED lighting doesn’t necessarily directly convert to the watts and lumens that are still commonly used in code. Schoellkopf said the lighting in this case was being provided by the signage company and that information on it could be provided when they receive it from the sign company.

    The committee approved the sign unanimously, with Weisgerber having recused himself from the entire application.

    The signage for the hotel’s reception area, located in the arch by its driveway entrance on Hollywood Street, will again use the brown-and-yellow/gold color scheme and will not be illuminated. The committee also approved it on a 4-0 vote.

    The committee likewise approved a sign intended to convey the height restriction for the hotel’s garage, which is 7 feet — with an additional 3 feet of height in the hotel’s port cochère, where guests can disembark to enter the hotel and then exit back onto Atlantic Avenue.

    However, later in the meeting, committee members suggested that the sign be combined with a wall sign intended to convey that garage parking is only for hotel guests, and Burbage and Schoellkopf both said they would do that, changing from a second sign to expanding the headroom sign instead. The committee approved the resulting sign to be up to 2 feet high and 15 feet long, though Schoellkopf said it would likely be smaller.

    The sign’s proposed wording, “Parking by Permit Only,” was also suggested to be changed to “Guest Parking Only,” to help ensure that people don’t think a town parking permit will authorize them to park in the garage.

    The committee on Feb. 13 also noted that a number of the signs were already permitted, including directional signs inside the garage area, and did not require approval from the DRC.

    A sign adjacent to the driveway near Atlantic Avenue will say “Exit Only,” to prevent traffic from trying to navigate the narrow driveway in both directions. The driveway itself is only one lane wide, with additional room for disembarkation but not for two cars to pass. The 2-foot-square sign will be placed on poles set in concrete, to better ensure it is seen by drivers. It, too, was approved 4-0.

    The main sign on the Hollywood Street side will be a flat, wall-mounted sign in the gable there, with gooseneck lamps for illumination. It was also approved unanimously.

    Two-sided signs pose complication for plan

    The group discovered a problem when they addressed a second projecting/blade sign planned for the boardwalk side of the hotel. The sign was to have been a smaller version of the projecting sign approved on Atlantic, but Frederick noted that the code limits projecting signs to two per building, and the two-sided sign on Atlantic counted as two signs on its own.

    Killmer emphasized that the DRC had already had cases when that restriction had prevented applicants from getting the signage they had originally wanted, setting a precedent that made it an unlikely case for a variance.

    Hendrickson suggested a change in the type of sign, to one that wouldn’t exceed the limits, and Frederick noted that they could place wall signs on each side of the corner of the building, but they would not be visible for those coming from the north along the boardwalk.

    “We only have one hotel in town,” she said. “People will know this building.”

    But Schoellkopf and Burbage said they really wanted to retain the visibility from the boardwalk, initially suggesting a change to a hanging sign instead of a projecting sign.

    They then suggested changing the just-approved hanging signage planned for the tentatively- (and perhaps eponymously-named) Jack Spot restaurant to reflect the hotel’s name, with the restaurant sign to be relocated. The 30-square-foot sign at the entrance to the restaurant from the beach and boardwalk was designed to fit the gable there, rather than being square, they noted.

    But Hendrickson said he thought that, as a businessperson, they would want to make an effort to bring people in from the boardwalk to the restaurant. “I think the hotel recognition happens from the front seat of the car,” he added.

    Schoellkopf then noted that they were permitted up to five additional projecting signs of up to 12 square feet each (with each side of a two-sided sign counted separately) and said they could go with a smaller, 3-by-4-foot projecting sign on the boardwalk, which could be used either for the restaurant or the hotel. Burbage said he’d like the smaller sign to be for the hotel.

    “It gives you the identification you wanted, where you wanted it, just smaller,” he told Burbage.

    The change netted a 4-0 vote for approval of the smaller sign. The committee also unanimously approved signage to indicate the location of showers for hotel guests coming off the beach.

    Killmer noted at the conclusion of the hotel-related votes that the hotel will indeed carry the Residence Inn branding, with a 6-foot bronze wall sign over its main door. The customized version of the brand is one of only two approved by Marriott in the country, Burbage said.

    As construction on the hotel continues, Killmer stated that remaining to be approved by the DRC are its landscaping and lighting. Schoellkopf gave a brief overview of those plans for committee members’ information, noting plans to use a “hockey puck” style of lighting in the parking area to avoid glare and enhance durability, and down-lighting on the columns at the sidewalk and inside the port cochère, as well as the emergency lighting at the exit doors. Lighting will also be embedded in the risers for the steps, and lighting with a nautical theme will be used on the balconies and on the pool deck.

    Of the landscaping plan, Schoellkopf noted that the zero-lot-line configuration of the commercial and CL-1 districts didn’t allow for much, but that plans called for three beds, at the front exit on Atlantic and on Hollywood Street in front of each building.

    Screening will be used on a transformer, with the rest being “very simple and straight-forward,” and using plants tolerant of the seaside environment — “probably just Knockout roses” and beach grass, with a tan stone mulch, he said.

    The lighting and landscaping plans could come back before the DRC in late February or early March.

    Black Pearl and tanning business setting up shop

    Also on Feb. 13, the DRC approved signage for new tenants in the Blue Surf complex on the boardwalk, Bill Fox and his wife, who will run their two businesses — the Black Pearl Designated Driver Service and Beach Belle Tiki & Tanning, respectively, out of a single storefront. Fox requested two hanging signs — one for each business — to make up the permitted 12 square feet of signage.

    Killmer suggested the signage be handled separately, first dealing with Beach Belle’s carved wooden signage, which will take up the larger portion permitted signage, at the same size as existing signage in the complex.

    Fox said his wife’s business would be a tanning salon offering spray-tanning and three tanning beds, as well as a UV-protectant spray tan service with 30 to 50 SPF that has now been approved by the FDA. In addition, he said, she will offer foot baths and an infrared sauna for body detox, as well as selling related items.

    The DRC approved the Beach Belle signage on a 5-0 vote.

    Fox described his business’ presence in the location as “like a little taxi stand, almost,” noting that it is a family-run business and endeavors to serve a need with its pirate-ship-themed buses.

    “At closing times on weekends, you need to get people out of Bethany,” he emphasized. “They call cabs, and no one shows up.” Fox said that, with his current base near Dagsboro, he felt a presence in Bethany would be a good thing.

    “I’ve got all the breweries and wineries, the bars and restaurants in Bethany, Fenwick Island, Dewey … they do a little advertising on the buses, and if one of their customers calls, I give them the discounted rate to get them home,” he said, noting the support of local police for the service, as well as his certification as a public carrier, offering tours, as well as being a designated driver.

    The distinctive buses and their pirate theme were the first subject the DRC members wanted to discuss, with Killmer expressing concerns about whether the skull-and-swords logo design that would be on the requested sign would fit with the character of the town, as well as whether the presence and prominent display of the Black Pearl’s phone number and website address were appropriate.

    Fox explained that the latter was by necessity.

    “When you get approved as a public carrier, people cannot wave you down; they must call,” he explained.

    Frederick pointed out that, typically, a sign is put up to advertise a business in its actual location. “This seems to be more for people to Google it and call, not come in,” she said. “The biggest thing on it is the website.”

    Fox said that was also intentional. “Almost everybody has an iPhone, and [the website] is the first thing they’re going to go to. Most people go there and then call or email to have it booked. … Where the sign is is the position where the office is located,” he added, noting that he couldn’t park his buses downtown without a physical location there without risking losing his carrier’s license or being fined, for a practice known as “posturing.”

    That caught Frederick’s attention. “When we talked, the buses weren’t going to be here,” she reminded Fox.

    “They’re not going to be parked here, but will be here a lot,” he replied, adding that parking officials had told him he could even buy a platinum parking pass and park a bus there.

    That might be true of a vehicle in general, Frederick said, “But you can’t have advertising on the vehicle. ... You can’t park it here or in front of the store with advertising on it,” she reiterated, noting that the Town has already required vehicles with advertising for a mattress store and restaurants to be moved.

    “You can drop off and pick up. You just can’t park here,” Killmer later explained.

    Back to the original subject, Frederick said she felt the concern with the signage was that the business name needed to be bigger so people could see it and stop in to get a card for later reference. “The biggest thing on here is the website address.” Hendrickson agreed, saying the emphasis of the sign should be on the “designated driver services” part of the name.

    However, Fox said again that his emphasis on the contact information was necessary. “They can’t just walk in and ask for ride right then,” he said of the carrier regulations. “They will walk out [of a restaurant] and see the contact information,” he explained about the concept of the sign.

    Addressing the concerns about the skull-and-swords symbol on the sign, Fox again pointed to public carrier regulations.

    “Anything I have in print has to be approved by the public carriers office. If the business card has it on there, it has to be on all the documents and can’t be changed,” he said. He confirmed that there was no concern about the trademark on The Black Pearl, despite the films’ use of that name.

    “I own ‘The Black Pearl Designated Driver Services’ in Delaware,” he emphasized. “I don’t have to have it,” he said of the skull symbol, “but considering all my buses are pirate ships on wheels, I would like to have it,” he told the committee members.

    Killmer confirmed that the Town has the right to restrict what images can appear on signage, but Fox argued that the area’s own history makes the pirate theme appropriate.

    “Lewes south to Fenwick was the most pirated area in the world during the pirate era. It is a part of the history of the area.”

    “I don’t think a pirate reference at the beach is inappropriate,” Weisgerber put in.

    Hendrickson pointed to the oft-touted family nature of the town. “The skull-and-crossbones is not Santa Claus,” he added.

    “Kids love pirates,” Fox replied.

    DRC members acknowledged the need to maintain control over such images, saying they wanted to prevent future signage that might show an image of a nude woman, for example, but also agreed that the pirate-themed mini-golf business located downtown had set a precedent.

    “It is a slippery slope, but I don’t think this is anywhere near it,” Weisgerber said.

    The DRC voted to give the Black Pearl sign conditional approval, with a revised design emphasizing the business name and not its contact information, to come to Frederick for her approval.

    Penguin Diner to get facelift and more

    The third application before the DRC on Feb. 13 was for some big changes at the Penguin Diner at 105 Garfield Parkway. Architect Scott Edmonson brought the plans for a façade removal and second-floor addition to the restaurant on behalf of owner Mark Neumann, asking for the DRC’s approval of the exterior renovations.

    Edmonson said the restaurant’s owners had found that, “People will eat breakfast at a dinner restaurant, but they won’t eat dinner at a breakfast restaurant,” suggesting that they retool part of the location (the second floor) to be “a little more sophisticated — more of a restaurant, less of a diner.”

    The renovations would create additional space for outdoor seating, expand seating overall and add space to the business. “We hope to put together an addition that will fit with the town,” he noted, referencing planned changes to the façade, exterior colors and awnings, focusing on white painted surfaces and “a traditional beachy feel.”

    DRC members said their chief concern with the plans was a faux façade at the roofline, which Killmer said “looks like a Hollywood set” and raised issues with a section of flat roof behind it. Hendrickson suggested they run the gable roof all the way to the back of the building, eliminating the problem, which Edmonson said had resulted from owners’ concerns about additional cost but might actually prove to be less expensive if the roof was extended.

    Hendrickson said that, with such a change, “I like it. I think it looks nice.”

    “The front view is beautiful,” Killmer agreed. “It will be a nice addition to the town.”

    The planned outdoor seating area would have garage-style glass doors that could enclose it during inclement weather, Edmonson noted.

    Committee members praised the lighting design but asked that the owners confirm that the awnings would be made of durable materials that can withstand the elements at the beach.

    Killmer inquired about the placement of trash receptacles behind the restaurant and the impact of the expansion on that, but Edmonson said the changes included relocating two walk-in freezers closer to the building and moving electrical boxes, which would allow the trash containers to be kept there.

    “I like the choice of colors,” Killmer added. “It looks very beachy, very Bethany Beach. The overall design is quite attractive.”

    Edmonson said the project was scheduled to start with some work on the first-floor interior prior to the summer season and the expansion of the second floor in the fall.

    Frederick also noted a requirement to flood-proof the restaurant’s front doors since such an extensive redesign is being done.

    “This is the kind of upgrades that we’re all hoping for in downtown Bethany Beach,” Killmer concluded. “You’re taking a pretty basic building, a box, and giving it some architectural diversity.”

    The committee voted 5-0 to approve the desired changes, with the proviso that the awning materials be weather-appropriate.


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    Thanks to an outpouring of support from the community, the Millville Volunteer Fire Company has been able to raise enough funds to purchase three LUCAS Chest Compression Systems to be placed in the MVFC’s three ambulances.

    EMT Michele Steffens, who also serves as the MVFC’s financial secretary, said the machines will help EMTs save valuable time during an emergency.

    “When you think about how many times you have to stop CPR… When you go to roll them onto a backboard, you’re stopping,” explained Steffens. “When you’re lifting them onto the stretcher, you’re stopping. When you’re taking them out to the ambulance, you don’t ride on the stretcher out to the ambulance. The LUCAS is working the entire time.”

    Last fall, when the MVFC was beginning its fundraising efforts, Karen Lesperance, president of Atlantic Community Thrift Shop (ACTS) was determined to help.

    “We saw Millville had been fundraising — they had a sign out front,” recalled Lesperance. “We approached them and said, ‘How much do you need?’”

    The MVFC’s goal had been to raise enough funds to purchase three LUCAS devices, with one to be placed in each of the company’s ambulances — requiring them to raise a total of $45,000. ACTS donated $30,000 — enough for the department to purchase two of the devices.

    “We surprised them. They didn’t think we were going to give them as much as we did,” said Lesperance. “They were flabbergasted… I wish you could’ve seen their faces… Their hands were shaking. They couldn’t believe we had donated that much.”

    “It’s not very often I’m speechless, but I was speechless,” added Steffens.

    With a board of nine volunteers, many of whom are retired nurses, Lesperance said the donation to MVFC was an easy one.

    “It helps the whole community… It only made sense for us as a board to do it.”

    “I didn’t know there were nurses on the board,” said Steffens. “When they thought about it, they said, ‘What better way to help?’ It helps the community, not just rich, not just poor — it helps everyone. So they opted just to buy one.

    “One of them was so sweet. She said, ‘I remember being on the gurney and doing this!’”

    Along with donating funding for two LUCAS devices to MVFC, ACTS also donated $15,000 to Dagsboro Volunteer Fire Department.

    Matt Gajdos, second vice-president of the state EMS association and fire recorder for the Dagsboro Volunteer Fire Department, said that the department was thankful for ACTS’s generous donation.

    “We were lucky enough to get that,” he said. “Anytime a business or organization partners up with us, it’s huge.”

    Gajdos said the department has held off on buying the device, as they’re looking at getting additional funding that would offset the cost of the LUCAS, allowing them to use the $15,000 donation to purchase more than one.

    ACTS provides donations, inexpensive goods to community

    Formed in 1988, ACTS is a nonprofit organization that donates thousands of dollars each year to organizations including Camp Barnes, Camp Hope, and Delaware Hospice.

    “ACTS was formed by six women from six of the original churches down here. They saw that things were being thrown away that could still be used. They figured if they had a place for those items to sell…” she said. “Our prices are very low. We are the cheapest thrift shop around. We have 50-cent shirts, dollar pants, $2 jeans, $2 dresses, $3 shirts…

    “We give a lot, and we do a lot down here. The money is all raised through the sale of donated items to the thrift shop.”

    Lesperance said the low cost of clothing and housewares is just another way ACTS helps the community, by allowing them to afford necessary items.

    “I had a lady tell me yesterday she has 14 grandchildren and that, if it wasn’t for ACTS, she wouldn’t have been able to give them what she did, because she can come in here, find new clothes and buy them for a dollar. When she told me, I said, ‘That is our purpose. That’s why we’re here.’

    “We just gave a lady who’s going through chemo — she’s one of our customers, we all know her, we all love her — a recliner, because she couldn’t lay down after her treatments.”

    Lesperance first became involved by volunteering for ACTS for more than a decade and has served as its president for nine years.

    “I never knew what it was, why people were standing in line in front of the store. I stopped and I saw what it was, and I thought, ‘Wow, that’s pretty cool.’ It’s going out and giving to people.”

    Approximately 75 community members run the organization, all of whom are volunteers.

    “Nobody gets paid here — it’s strictly volunteer. We don’t refuse anybody,” she said. “There are people who have been here for 25 years and are still volunteering. I’m just blown away [by it].”

    One volunteer, “Bob the Builder,” said “I think it’s great,” of working for the nonprofit.

    “I have the best volunteers. They’re truly wonderful,” said Lesperance. She added that, contrary to the beliefs of some, those who volunteer at ACTS may not purchase an endless amount of items once they’re donated.

    “Volunteers are only allowed to buy five items a day, and if it’s new, they can only buy one.”

    Along with donating funds to local organizations, ACTS also offers scholarships to local high school students looking for further their education. Students who volunteer 50 hours of time at the store for the year can receive $2,000 scholarships; however, Lesperance said few kids apply.

    “We didn’t have any last year,” she said.

    Thrift shop comes to the rescue for needs big and small

    Currently, ACTS is working to help the Home of the Brave II, a transitional home for homeless military veterans, located in Milford.

    “They didn’t have a lot of money. We’re hoping to get them DART cards to go back and forth to work on the bus. We’re trying to help them,” she said. “We help anybody that’s legitimate. If there’s a fire, we help immediately. That’s one of the big things we do.”

    Lesperance said ACTS does a great many things, most of which go unknown or unnoticed in the community.

    “We do a lot. We know it’s a huge impact, but it doesn’t get out very often.”

    “The story I’ll never forget is there was a little boy who came to the back door one day. We were just about to close, and the little boy, he needed a mattress. He came to the back door and he said he had just moved in with his mum-mum and was sleeping on the floor.

    “He had tears in his eyes, and I said, ‘Honey, we’ll get you a bed.’ So we got him a bed frame and a mattress. He hugged me and he said, ‘My daddy’s really sick and, hopefully, he gets better.’ His dad was on drugs… I tell you what — that broke my heart. I would’ve given him everything… I think it’s why most people come, because they know what we do.”

    Lesperance said she’s proud of the help the organization has been able to provide to the community and hopes it will continue for years to come.

    “We were very, very happy with the fire company donations. They had invited me to go to their banquet, and they said to me they wanted to thank us for the work they do. To me — look at what they do. They’re all volunteers, they save lives… They don’t need to thank us…

    “It’s people helping people. That’s what we do.”

    Steffans said the work ACTS does for the community is extraordinary and that she is so thankful for their support in funding.

    “It’s amazing,” she said. “It was one of those things where we would’ve been happy just to get one before the end of the year. To get all three before the end of the year — we were absolutely blessed.”

    As part of its initial effort to raise funds, the MVFC sought donations from local businesses and also held a movie night at the Clayton Theatre.

    “The community was just so absolutely supportive when it came to the movie night. I was asking for $100 donations and getting anywhere between $100 and $500. The community was wonderful. Basically, before we even walked into the movies, we already had the LUCAS paid for.”

    The devices are stored in self-contained backpacks on each of the ambulances. Steffens said EMTs may also use automated external defibrillators (AEDs) while the LUCAS is performing automated chest compressions.

    Gajdos said Dagsboro’s coverage area has dramatic population spikes in the summer months, going from approximately 750 residents to 2,500, which makes having the best equipment that much more necessary.

    “We’re just very thankful to businesses that decide to partner,” he said. “We wouldn’t be able to provide the service at this level without their cooperation.”

    Currently, the MVFC is staffed by nine full-time career employees, several part-time employees and numerous dedicated volunteers.

    “We do have leftover funds. We’ve kept it in a LUCAS fund, so it’ll go toward any maintenance,” she added. “Since it’s our first year with them, we want to cover all our bases and make sure we have a little leftover in case something unexpected comes up. We didn’t want to have to pull money out from someone else’s budget.”

    Steffans offered her thanks to the local businesses and residents who contributed to their fundraising efforts and made the purchase of the LUCAS devices a reality: Fontana and Paul Keller; Jefferson, Urian Doane & Sterner; Lord Baltimore Lions; Michael McCarthy Stones; NV Homes at the Beach; Ocean RV Center; Prop Divers; Frank Rickards; Robert’s Repair Service Inc.; Seahawk Upholstery; Solutions Plus; Mason Dixon Post 7234; State Farm Insurance, Denise Beam; Tidewater Physical Therapy; Treasure Island Fashions; Treasure Quest; UPS Store; Ruth and George Vernimb; Vickie York Best of the Beach; WSFS Bank; Mary and Joseph Mulcare Jr.; Sandra and Thomas Natolly; Elsie and Donald Pearson; Preceptor Omega Chapter, Beta Sigma; Natalie and John Lazo; Lois James, DDS Family Dentistry; Law Office of D. Stephen Parsons, PA; and the Law Office of Susan Pittard Weidman, PA.

    “It was just wonderful how the entire community came together to support the fire company and the EMS,” said Steffens. “It’s just amazing.”

    “We’re just very thankful for the businesses that do decide to partner with the fire and EMS service here in Delaware. We wouldn’t be able to provide the service at the level the community deserves without their cooperation,” added Gajdos. “A lot of other states don’t have the unique opportunity that we have in Delaware. We’re small, and all three counties work very well together.”

    To see how the LUCAS device works, view videos online at www.youtu.be/vIDJk3fA3sU or www.youtu.be/6kwr6tqzcfA.


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    The Ocean View Police Department last week hosted a Delaware Overdose Survival Education (DOSE) workshop, conducted by Brandywine Counseling & Community Services.

    About 16 members of the public, along with the entire police department, attended the training session on overdose prevention. The workshop was funded through a grant from the Sussex County Council.

    The workshop was led by Domenica Personti, director of adolescent services and prevention at Brandywine. Following the training, attendees were certified to purchase and administer naloxone, also known as Narcan, which can counteract an opiate overdose.

    Personti said that an overdose can happen when a person’s body ingests more of an opiate than it can handle.

    “That can be dependent on lots of things,” she explained. “Someone who has pre-existing medical conditions — people who are asthmatic, people who are diabetic — they’re all at higher risk for opiate overdose.”

    Overdoses are rarely instantaneous, Personti said, but it can happen.

    “Normally, you’re not going to see someone use an opiate and then fall out on the floor, but it does happen,” she said, noting most overdoses occur within 45 minutes to an hour after use. Overdoses can also happen up to three hours after opiate use.

    She explained that opiates connect to the receptors that control breathing, “so it directly impacts your respiratory system. Once your respiratory system is impacted, the amount of oxygen that goes to your brain is impaired.”

    She added that a person’s heart can stop due to an overdose, and they can become unconscious, go into a coma and/or die.

    “The one thing people don’t talk a whole lot about is what happens when someone overdoses and doesn’t necessarily die,” said Personti. “There are long-term effects that can happen that are fairly substantial. We’ve seen clients who have overdosed by themselves, fell on their left side and were in that position for a long time… Sometimes they’ll have permanent nerve damage because they cut their circulation off because of the way they were positioned.

    ‘We’ve also seen people with cognitive impairment because they were unconscious for so long that lack of oxygen resulted in brain damage. There’s a plethora of things that can happen, leading up to a fatality, that are significant and can be life-changing.”

    The most common scenario for an overdose that Brandywine has seen recently, said Personti, is due to a tolerance shift, following a period of abstinence, or no use of the drug.

    “Then they go back to using at the level they were prior, and all of a sudden they’re overwhelming their body,” she said. “That can happen in as little as three days of abstinence.”

    Other risk factors include mixing drugs, which increases a risk of overdose two-fold, she said, and the person’s physical health.

    “People who have previously overdosed are at higher risk of an overdose. People who are above 55 are at higher risk of overdose. People under 18 are at higher risk of overdose.”

    Switching from snorting or smoking an opiate to injecting it also puts the user at a higher risk of overdose. Any variation in strength and content puts a user at higher risk.

    Personti said that, with the many distribution drug arrests throughout the state, along with doctors’ offices being shut down, users will move on to a different supplier. Then they end up buying drugs from new person, and the purity, content and strength of the new supply may be totally different than what they’re used to.

    Personti said using alone also puts a user at higher risk.

    “Trying to convince a drug addict to not use alone is very difficult thing, because they often view that as having to share drugs. It’s really important that, in the event that you talk to someone in active addiction, this is one of the most important things to talk to them about.

    “No matter what they have to give up in order to be safe and not use alone, it’s one of the best things we can teach active users to stay alive. It’ll be a strong argument, but it’s really important.”

    Calling 911 immediately is vital

    Overdose response myths she said, are just that. For those who are in a situation where they must help someone who may have overdosed, Personti said calling 911 is the best course of action. People should not do such things as inject saltwater/saline into the user, give them a cold shower or burn them.

    Personti said that, if one fears someone is in overdose, they should immediately call 911. Even if they are trained and have naloxone handy, calling emergency services first is crucial.

    “When we administer a dose of naloxone, that medication is only going to be good for 30 to 40 minutes, depending on their size, metabolism… What you don’t want is a rebound overdose if you walk away.”

    She said that, although the naloxone could bring the person temporarily out of the overdose, to the point where they can verbalize that they are OK, “When that medication wears off, all those opiates reattach to their receptors, and they have a rebound overdose.”

    “That’s why we stress, please call 911. We actually had a Brandywine client overdose four months ago, and then had to give her four additional naloxone doses in the hospital, after we sent her there with two.”

    Ocean View Police Department Chief Ken McLaughlin asked whether multiple doses of naloxone being administered can have a detrimental effect.

    “You’re not going to overdose them on naloxone,” she said.

    Naloxone is an opioid antagonist medication that reverses only opioid overdoses.

    “This medication is very benign. It won’t work on anything else. It doesn’t have a lot of side effects. You’re not going to get high from it. It can’t be abused. It is only goes to work on an opiate overdose.”

    Personti said naloxone stays active for 20 to 90 minutes, depending on the person’s metabolism and how much of an opiate was used.

    Naloxone doses are good for two years from the time of purchase. The medication is dispersed in both nostrils, via an atomizer. Following the administration of naloxone, CPR should be performed until emergency personnel arrive on scene.

    “Remember, brain damage can occur after 3 to 5 minutes. Delaware has one of the best ambulance/police response times in the country. Even with the best response times, it can still take someone three minutes to get to you… In your mind, remember — brain damage can happen in as little as three minutes. The biggest thing is to keep breathing for them until the paramedics get there or until the naloxone kicks in.”

    Personti said administering naloxone generally does not have an immediate effect, referencing the overdose scene in the film “Pulp Fiction.”

    “It doesn’t always work instantaneously,” she said. “If the person doesn’t respond in the first 2 to 3 minutes, give the second dose of naloxone.”

    Once the person temporarily comes out of the overdose due to the naloxone, Personti said, it is important to explain to them what has happened.

    “Don’t allow them to do more opiates. Some people will come-to, and when the naloxone takes all of the opiates off their system, they’re not going to feel well — they’re going to feel angry, potentially aggravated and sick.” That could lead to them taking more of the opiate.

    Personti said barriers to reporting a possible overdose include fear of legal risk, loss of housing, personal embarrassment and family-services involvement. Anyone who goes through the training is eligible to carry naloxone and administer it. And Personti said that the state’s Good Samaritan law, implemented in 2013, aims to quell the fear of reporting — be it to police, a doctor or hospital.

    “In the event that there is a medical emergency and someone intervenes, as long as you do it in good faith and give accurate information, then you have immunity from any kind of prosecution or charges.

    “In the event that you don’t do it in good faith; or you call and say, ‘This person is in cardiac arrest,’ and you know it’s an overdose; or if there are other criminal circumstances around that are bigger than that immunity… Those are all things that are still left up in the air.”

    She said the law was implemented to reduce barriers, so that people would be encouraged to call 911 when they suspect an overdose.

    “We’re there to save a life. We’re not there to make an arrest,” added McLaughlin. “We view that Good Sam’ law as immunity. If you know someone that’s overdosing, or overdosing yourself, you take it upon yourself to call 911. We’re not coming there to make an arrest. We’re there to save a life.”

    Currently, the OVPD is the only police agency in the state to carry naloxone, though others are now getting certified to do so. McLaughlin noted that, although enforcement is a part of solving the drug problems in the state, it is only a small part.

    “I can tell you, within one mile of where we’re sitting right now, there are so many people that are battling addictions, so many families who are going through it who were reluctant to come out of the shadows tonight… We’re here to help.”

    Naloxone can be the start of recovery

    Personti said that the first 24 hours following an overdose is “prime time” to get a user into treatment.

    “The one thing we try and stress is we also tie in the treatment component. … Naloxone is the buzz word right now, but we still need to have conversations about what happens after the naloxone, because you don’t want to have to do this 20 times to one person.

    “You do it to save them, but the goal is always for us to connect them to care also — to make sure this is a learning experience and maybe the first steps to getting them into treatment.”

    The difficulty of getting into a treatment program was also discussed at the workshop. Personti said that if someone shows up at Brandywine seeking treatment, they will receive it. But those wishing to receive treatment from Brandywine will have to be a Delaware resident or gain residency in the state within 14 days.

    McLaughlin said his department has people come in looking for help on a weekly basis; however, they, too, are limited in what they can do.

    “We’re limited in what we can do down here. It’s a sad reality,” he said, noting that many are going to get a mental health committal to get help. “Most of the folks who are coming to us have said they’ve tried on their own, and they’re coming to us thinking that we’re the police — that we might have an in. And we can’t do anything better than they can… It’s extremely frustrating.”

    Personti said treatment centers in the state are at capacity, which can force those who are seeking treatment to wait days, and sometimes months, to be admitted to a facility.

    “We get about 30 people who show up at our two sites in Wilmington a day… We can only take eight at each site,” she said, adding that part of the problem is a lack of doctors working in the field.

    Personti said that all providers are impacted by the rising number of people seeking help, and added that the State is taking a look at what it can do to help. She said providers are actively working to expand resources to Sussex County and recently held a workshop at Camp Rehoboth.

    “I had a 16-year-old Sussex Central student who told me there were 500 kids in her class and if she had to on average give me a number, at least half of them are on opiates,” recalled Personti. “So this 16-year-old girl asked, ‘Will you please come talk to the kids at my school?’ That’s heartbreaking, because I can talk to them until I’m blue in the face, but where do I send them?”

    McLaughlin and Personti both said the number of overdoses reported to the State is not accurate, as many fatalities are listed as “cardiac arrest.”

    “In Delaware, when we track the data, it’s ‘toxic death.’ So it’s any toxic death. If someone takes Tylenol, it’s toxic death. If someone takes an herbal supplement and has an adverse reaction and dies, it’s a toxic death. There’s no breakout of how many people are dying from benzyls, alcohol, opiates. It’s all lumped together… We’re one of seven states that doesn’t track specifically [that data].”

    “I bet you the numbers are 10 times higher than what they’re reported to be, from what I’m hearing,” said McLaughlin.

    One attendee at the workshop said their son was in treatment for drug abuse and that a rehabilitation campus is desperately needed.

    “We need to get vocal with our legislators… We need to get working on this.”

    Extended-release drug can help break addiction

    Personti also discussed Vivitrol, or naltrexone, an extended?release injectable suspension drug that can help users stop using opiates.

    “We’re seeing a lot of success with it,” she said. “In a very simplistic way, think of it as a 30-day time-release of naloxone. It helps with cravings and triggers. So someone who’s somber for five to seven days, with no opiates in their system, we can start them on Vivitrol.”

    She said that while someone is on Vivitrol they would be unable to get high. A great deal of the drug’s success has been found in drug-court populations, for which programs run six to nine months.

    “If they get the Vivitrol for the six to nine months they’re in the program, by the time they graduate, they change so many of their behaviors … that it sticks.”

    Baltimore, Md., she said, did a trial run in their prison population for two and a half years, inducting prisoners on the medication prerelease.

    “They had an 81 percent non-recidivism rate after 18 months. Their statistics are amazing.”

    Vivitrol is currently available by visiting a rehabilitation center, such as Brandywine, or going to a family physician. At Brandywine, Personti said, those who wish to be put on the medication must submit to a “Narcan Challenge.”

    “That way, if they have opiates in their system and they weren’t honest with us about it, it’s only a tiny bit and they only get sick for maybe an hour… If we give them Vivitrol and they haven’t any opiates in their system, they’ll go into automatic withdrawal.”

    Personti said Vivitrol is great for a working population and good for those who do not want to use methadone or suboxone.

    “It’s not an addicting medication, so once the 30 days ends, they’re done with it,” she said, adding that there have been reports of side effects such as cravings, which can be dealt with if the person is in active recovery.

    She added that methadone or suboxone do have a place in recovery, noting that many users who are placed on that regimen of treatment are longtime users who are only able to be sober, stable, maintain a job and see their kids when they are on that treatment.

    “It’s almost like the lesser of two evils,” she said. “It also makes them less of a menace to society, because when they’re using they’re out stealing, robbing, they’re impacting the resources of the criminal justice system.”

    One attendee asked Personti why Vivitrol isn’t used all the time. She said that, although it was approved to treat alcoholism in 1993, it was only within the last five years it was approved for opiate-relapse prevention.

    “I think it’s a learning process for everyone,” she said.

    Personti added that Vivitrol is quite expensive — about $1,600. If someone is uninsured, the State will pay for the shot, and if a patient is insured, the shot will be free once their yearly deductible has been met.

    “What they say is around 18 months is where they see the best success rates,” she said.

    Removing the stigma of addiction also a goal

    Personti said that, no matter what treatment may be available to someone seeking recovery, there is still a great stigma attached to drug use that may prevent them from getting the help available.

    “The goal of this is to get it in the hands of people who need it… That stigma that is around addiction is so strong.”

    One attendee said there are families who, after the passing of a loved one from an overdose, write an obituary that helps de-stigmatize addiction.

    “Then you have the brave parents who write, ‘passed from their long, hard struggle from addiction.’ It’s like, ‘Thank you.’”

    Personti said that addiction has been proven to be a disease but isn’t necessarily viewed as one by society.

    “It is hard. I don’t know that’ll change until we do things like this and we have communities together.”

    The next DOSE workshop in Sussex County will be held on March 18 at 6 p.m. at Bethel United Methodist Church, located at 129 West 4th Street in Lewes.


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    No elections are necessary this year for town councils in Selbyville and Millville. In both towns, the three incumbents were the only registered candidates.

    Council positions in both towns carry a term of two years, from this spring to March of 2017.

    In Millville, Susan Brewer, Robert “Bob” Gordon and Harry Kent will retain their seats.

    In Selbyville, G. Frank Smith III, Clarence Tingle Jr. and Mayor Clifton Murray will keep their positions.


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    The Selbyville Town Council last week approved three exceptions in the final layout of Lighthouse Lakes, a new development on Route 54 with 302 total units (222 single-family units and 80 duplex units).

    Although the density of the overall project would remain unchanged, the market demands that the duplex properties be a bit smaller than the town code requires, said Randy Duplechain of Davis, Bowen & Friedel Inc., which is designing the neighborhood.

    Duplexes in the community will be composed of two 40-foot-wide houses, connected on the side, both 50 feet deep, with an attached garage on the outer side of each. The Town’s Planning & Zoning Commission had already recommended approval of the exceptions.

    Selbyville’s town code demands a 14,400-square-foot lot, at least 120 feet wide. The duplexes will now be on lots of 12,750 square feet, at 102 feet wide.

    There is “just not a need” for more, Duplechain said.

    The buffer between each set of homes will be 25 feet, like the other single-family homes.

    Additionally, the garages will have a smaller setback, provided there are some extra aesthetics related to the garage doors. Each garage and driveway will still hold a total of four cars.

    The approval of the exceptions comes on the heels of last month’s amendment to town code, which allows the town council to consider community designs that don’t follow town code to the letter. A developer is supposed to prove that relaxing the Planning & Zoning Code is in Selbyville’s best interest before the council will approve an exception.

    The goal is to entice more creativity and more development in Selbyville.

    “It’s probably one of the better projects we’ve seen in some time,” said Councilman Rick Duncan. “It’s going to be an asset to the town.”

    In other Selbyville news:

    • A recent arrest helped local police recover much stolen property from a string of recent thefts (mostly of unlocked cars and storage). People who think they may be victims should report missing items, as a large number of goods was recovered, Police Chief W. Scott Collins said.

    • The Bethany-Fenwick Area Chamber of Commerce has offered to host Old Timer’s Day this summer, Town Manager Bob Dickerson announced. Although the Chamber is waiting for final board approval, it broached the subject with Dickerson. The Chamber hosted the festival and car show years ago, when it was still located in Selbyville, he added.

    It costs Selbyville about $6,000 to host the event, partly because of Town employee time. But the Chamber can do much with volunteers.

    “I think it’s good for the town,” Councilman Frank Smith said.

    Last year’s Old Timer’s Day was canceled due to personal issues involving the main organizers.

    Councilman Clarence “Bud” Tingle Jr. and Mayor Clifton Murray agreed that the Town should still contribute time and police effort.

    • Natural gas is flowing toward Selbyville. Homeowner’s associations should contact Chesapeake Utilities if they’re interested in learning more. It’s heading down Route 54, and will likely go to the schools on Route 20.

    • March will once again be Kids Art Month in Selbyville, hosted by Selbyville Community Club at the library and areas around town.

    “I encourage all my comrades to come out and see it. Some of the artwork they do, it’s unbelievable for the age,” said Mayor Murray.

    “The pure enjoyment those kids get out of being recognized for their art … it’s good for the whole town,” said Dickerson.

    • The town tax rate will remain unchanged in the coming year, at $1.85 per $100 of assessed value.

    • Any private communities interested in getting more street lights can contact Delmarva Power for monthly rates.

    • Bidding for a new town water filtration system is expected to begin in March. The air-stripping towers will help remove gasoline additive MTBE from the water.

    • Replacing the Town’s holiday lights could have cost about $30,000, Dickerson said, but for just several thousand dollars, the Town stripped the tinsel and replaced the bulbs with LEDs.

    The next regular Town Council meeting has been pushed back to Monday, March 16, at 7 p.m.


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    Sign-ups have kicked off for the Youth Outdoor League at River Soccer Club, a Saturday-morning game league for players 4 to 14.

    Registration is open online at www.riversoccerclub.com, but drop-off registration sites will be open this Saturday, Feb. 28, and next Saturday, March 7, at John M. Clayton Elementary School in Frankford from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

    The final drop-off registration will be held Saturday, March 14, at the River Soccer Complex, from 9 to 11 a.m., leading up to the March 15 registration deadline.

    The registration fee is $55, with reduced rates for families signing up three or more players.

    Games will begin on Saturday, April 18, with teams being divided up by age and ability.

    For more information, visit www.riversoccerclub.com or contact Rob Engel at (302) 436-2963 or rscrec@mchsi.com.


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    Recalling advice from a mentor to be aware of your surroundings? Remembering the lines of a favorite song? Mesmerized by the miracle of a flower? Enchanted by the magic of a far off city? These moments are the influences that can make an artist take a brush, set a canvas on an easel, put out paints and — create. And for the month of March, the artists of Gallery One have painted to the theme “Under the Influence.”

    Lesley McCaskill remembered a friend and mentor who told her to look for beauty in a winter landscape. She found her celebration of winter in “Flight Pattern,” a watercolor of subtle grays and soft lavenders and pale pinks with geese in their flight pattern.

    Pat Riordan found that the theme allowed her to express her thoughts without the usual restrictions she puts on herself. “Bridge over Troubled Waters” is an impressionistic watercolor interpreting the words of that song.

    An insignificant brown amaryllis bulb given as a Christmas gift — Cheryl Wisbrock watched it awaken from its dormant state into a “glorious, double-stalked flower with four giant blooms on each stalk.” Her watercolor, “Double Whammy,” aims to capture the miracle of a flower.

    Wintering in the sub-tropical area of southwest Florida influences the world Peggy Warfield paints. Her acrylic, “Winter Bloom,” is of a lush, hot pink, magenta, lavender, coral and yellow flower in full bloom.

    Rina Thaler’s recent trip to Amsterdam has her “under the influence of this unique place.” In her mixed-media painting, “Amsterdam Canal II,” Thaler expressed the sense of past, present and future of that timeless city. Laura Hickman’s pastel and gouache, “Cafe in Lisbon,” captures the late afternoon sun casting patterns on a green facade of a restaurant in Graca Do Vinho.

    Peeking out from under an orange-and-white striped awning, colorful fish swim in a room under the sea. Even when there are no vacancies anywhere in the height of the summer season, these creatures can always find a place to stay. Aubre Duncan titled her watercolor, “No Vacancy.”

    Influenced by Georgia O’Keefe, Joyce Condry said that she loves the famous artist’s big in-your-face flowers. “Magnolia,” an acrylic, is a full-page bloom. Influenced by the colors and light and shadow in Tuscany, Dale Sheldon’s watercolor, “Shadows on the Wall,” depicts a scene of an ancient wall as a background for the color and shadow of the that day’s laundry drying in the sun.

    This is a sampling of the work to be seen in the 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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    Since 2005, Maestro Julien Benichou has been bringing audiences of music lovers the sound of the Mid-Atlantic Symphony Orchestra. Such an experience recently occurred on Jan. 17, when the grand opening of the Roland E. Powell Convention Center’s new Performing Arts Center (PAC) was held. The celebration included a ribbon-cutting ceremony and a program by the MSO, conducted by Benichou and featuring tenor Israel Lozano and the local OC Stars children’s chorus.

    The MSO is continuing its concert series “A Glorious Journey” in March. Benichou has selected a repertoire and chosen to showcase one of the MSO musicians in a special spotlight to celebrate the beginning of spring.

    The concert commences with Mendelssohn’s “The Hebrides Overture,” “Fingal’s Cave,” followed by Schumann’s “Cello Concerto in A Minor” featuring MSO principal cellist Lukasz Szyrner. To conclude the concert, the audience will be treated to Haydn’s final symphony, “Symphony No. 104 in D Major,” the “London Symphony.”

    The concert will also feature a performance by the winner of the Chesapeake Youth Symphony Orchestra’s annual Concerto Competition, which was held in Annapolis, Md., on Jan. 31. Patrick Lill, a high school junior and clarinetist, was awarded first place and won the opportunity to perform with the Mid-Atlantic Symphony Orchestra. The CYSO plays under the direction of Benichou. Lill will perform the second movement of Mozart’s “Clarinet Concerto in A Major, K. 622.”

    The spring concert will be performed on Saturday, March 21, at 7:30 p.m. at the Mariner’s Bethel Church, Route 26 and Central Avenue, Ocean View. A free discussion about the evening’s program, presented by Diane Nagorka, will take place at 6:45 p.m.

    The concert will also be held on Thursday, March 19, at 7:30 p.m. at the Easton Church of God, 1009 N. Washington Street, Easton, Md., and on Sunday, March 22, at 3 p.m. at the Community Church, Racetrack Road, Ocean Pines, Md., where a pre-concert discussion will take place at 2:15 p.m.

    Tickets cost $38 for adults. A limited number of complimentary tickets are available to those 18 or younger; however, reservations for these tickets must be made in advance to ensure seating. To order tickets, call 1-888-846-8600 or visit the MSO website at www.midatlanticsymphony.org. Tickets are to be available at the door in Ocean View.


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    Eileen Stamnas, Jim Gibney and the rest of their bandmates will be back at Dickens Parlour Theatre in Millville this weekend, putting on a concert performance of “Music to Warm a Cold Winter’s Evening.”

    The concert will be a little different than the group’s cabaret-style show last year, featuring a variety of music numbers from artists including Celine Dion, Andrea Bocelli, Louis Prima, Pat Benatar and Michael Buble.

    “There will be some cabaret moments,” Stamnas assured. “It’s a music venue. Normally we do dance gigs. This is a listening crowd, so it’s a different sort of repertoire.”

    Some of the musicians are local, including Stamnas, but many of them will travel from nearby states, such as Maryland and Virginia — like Gibney’s D.C.-based group The Main Event. Other musicians involved include veteran symphony players, some of whom have even toured with notable groups, including Earth, Wind & Fire.

    “The majority of these musicians are with my brother’s band,” said Stamnas of Gibney, noting that two more of her siblings will be featured in the group, as well. “We cover a wide variety of genres. It is just some excellent musicians.”

    Despite the range of locales, the group meshes — as not only are four of the members siblings, but many of them have also performed together throughout their musical careers, including Stamnas and Gibney at three inaugural balls at the White House.

    The concert will benefit the Bethany Area Repertory Theatre, or BART, which is set up as a non-profit organization with the goal of bringing theater to the area and offering scholarships to local high school students pursuing careers in the arts.

    “It’s a pleasure to be able to do what we love for a good cause,” said Stamnas. “That’s the whole idea at this point in our careers — we’re doing it for the passion. We would like to see more of the arts supported.”

    After the show, everyone will return to the parlor to enjoy some magic from Dickens’ founder Rich Bloch, which, according to Stamnas, is an aspect that makes Dickens such a unique venue.

    “To me, it’s his gift to the community,” said Stamnas of Bloch and the theater. “The community is very lucky to have this theater. I have a love for the place. It’s a wonderful place to perform. It’s a special little jewel, really, in the area.”

    Tickets for the concerts Friday, Feb. 27, and Saturday, Feb. 28, are available on the theater’s website at www.dptmagic.com. The event is set for 7:30 p.m., but the parlor will open at 7 p.m. Call Dicken’s Parlour Theatre at (302) 829-1071 for more information.


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    Coastal Point • R. Chris Clark : The 2015 Joshua M. Freeman Valor Awards winners pose for a photo with their plaques, and some of the supervisors who nominated them for their distinction.Coastal Point • R. Chris Clark : The 2015 Joshua M. Freeman Valor Awards winners pose for a photo with their plaques, and some of the supervisors who nominated them for their distinction.Every day, local emergency responders are ready to jump in to help when things go wrong. Their dedication to the community is recognized annually at the Joshua M. Freeman Valor Awards, and last Friday, the Bethany-Fenwick Area Chamber of Commerce again honored one outstanding police officer, paramedic or EMT and firefighter from each town in the area.

    The 2015 Joshua M. Freeman Overall Valor Award was presented to Cpl. Stephen Majewski of the Fenwick Island Police Department, for going above and beyond the call duty, as he displayed selflessness during a regular traffic stop that compounded into a high-speed, multi-car collision in which he was also injured.

    Last May, Majewski was patrolling Coastal Highway when he made a regular traffic stop, arresting and placing the intoxicated driver in the back seat of his police car.

    “Shortly after Majewski returned to his vehicle, another drunk driver [also speeding] crashed into the rear of the police vehicle,” read the nomination by Fenwick Island Police Chief William Boyden.

    “The crash was so intense that it pushed the police SUV into the arrested man’s vehicle, forcing both 100 feet. The striking vehicle then flipped onto its roof trapping the occupants,” the nomination said.

    There, at the side of the road, Majewski was himself suffering from facial and leg injuries, “but his primary concern was the other people involved,” Boyden wrote.

    After moving the arrested subject to safety, Majewski then treated the other vehicle’s occupants, who had been injured, too.

    “He put himself in harm’s way to render aid. He called for fire and EMS to respond and continued to help those injured,” Boyden wrote. “He refused to leave the scene or be treated until the others had been treated or transported. His actions illustrate his dedication to his career, as well as his dedication to the safety of the public in general.”

    Majewski has a strong history of service, as he’s been the FIPD’s nominee for the Valor Awards five times. He has served in Fenwick for about a decade.

    Among the other first-responders recognized at the 2015 Joshua M. Freeman Valor Awards were:

    Firefighters of the Year

    • Bethany Beach Volunteer Fire Company — Assistant Fire Chief Todd Hickman, nominated by Fire Chief Brian Martin

    • Millville Volunteer Fire Company — Past Chief Robert Magee, nominated by Fire Chief Doug Scott

    • Roxana Volunteer Fire Company — Firefighter Aaron Driscoll, nominated by Assistant Fire Chief Guy C. Hudson

    • Selbyville Volunteer Fire Company — Past Chief Bob Eckman, nominated by Fire Chief Matt Sliwa

    EMTs of the Year

    • Bethany Beach Volunteer Fire Co. — John Huegel, nominated by EMS Chief Doug W. Scott

    • Millville Volunteer Fire Co. — EMTs Andrew Evans and Robert Webster, nominated by EMS Chief John J. Watson

    • Roxana Volunteer Fire Co. — Gary Walls, nominated by Ambulance Capt. Max Twigg

    • Selbyville Volunteer Fire Co. — Amy Szuba, nominated by Ambulance Capt. Matt Sliwa

    Police Officers of the Year

    • Bethany Beach Police Department — Sgt. Charles Jude Scharp, nominated by Police Chief Michael Redmond

    • Ocean View Police Department — Patrolman Justin Hopkins, nominated by Police Chief Kenneth M. McLaughlin

    • Selbyville Police Department — Sgt. Michael Bruette, nominated by Police Chief W. Scott Collins

    • South Bethany Police Department — Cpl. Mark Burton, nominated by Police Chief Troy Crowson

    Some of the honorees were recognized for specific incidents, others for their ongoing dedication, day after day.

    “I take safety for granted, and after hearing how you all put yourself in harm’s way…” said Patti Grimes, executive director of the Joshua M. Freeman Foundation, she was truly grateful.

    “Whether it is a true team collaboration to save a victim’s life or an individual call-to-action to prevent a crime, our servicemen and -women truly display acts of valor year ’round,” Grimes said.


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    Coastal Point • R. Chris Clark : Police are seeking the public’s help in locating vandals who recently struck the Bayshore Mobile Home Park.Coastal Point • R. Chris Clark : Police are seeking the public’s help in locating vandals who recently struck the Bayshore Mobile Home Park.The Delaware State Police are still seeking the public’s assistance in locating a suspect, or suspects, involved in vandalizing 26 homes in the Bayshore Mobile Home Park, off of Cedar Neck Road near Ocean View.

    Master Cpl. Gary Fournier, public information officer for the Delaware State Police said that the vandalism, which occurred on Feb. 11 between 10 a.m. and 1:30 p.m., was reported to police by a park resident who noticed a neighbor’s home was damaged.

    The suspect or suspects shattered glass doors and windows of residences — some that were adjacent to each other and some that were not. The suspect or suspects entered the unoccupied seasonal homes, police said; however, no missing property has been reported to police.

    Fournier said that, while it is not common for homes to be broken into without items being stolen, he noted that some of the victims may have not been able to inventory their belongings, as they are seasonal homes.

    The total damage to the homes is estimated to be more than $9,000.

    Fournier said citizens reporting information or tips to police often leads to the arrest of individuals involved in any type of crime.

    “Any information provided to investigators may be helpful in locating and arresting the individuals responsible for the damages to the victim’s personal property.”

    If anyone has any information as to the identity of the suspect or suspects involved, they are asked to contact Det. J Rowley at (302) 856-5850, ext. 223. Information may also be provided by calling Delaware Crime Stoppers at 1-800-TIP-3333, via the internet at www.tipsubmit.com, or by sending an anonymous tip by text to 274637 (CRIMES) using the keyword “DSP.”


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    Coastal Point • Submitted : Ocean View is looking for candidates who live in District 4 to run for town council.Coastal Point • Submitted : Ocean View is looking for candidates who live in District 4 to run for town council.The Town of Ocean View is seeking candidates to fill the District 4 town council seat, for a three-year term.

    The seat is currently held by Councilman Bob Lawless, who has served on council since 2009 and is unable to run for reelection this year, as a two-term limit is imposed by the town charter.

    As of Coastal Point’s Wednesday news deadline, four Ocean View residents had registered to run in the Town’s April election. Residents Jon DeBuchananne, Don Walsh, Kent Liddle and Carol Bodine had all filed to run.

    Any resident of District 4 — which consists primarily of Wedgefield, Avon Park, Bear Trap and Fairway Village — may file to run for the council seat if they are 18 or older, a U.S. citizen, a resident of the town for at least one year immediately preceding the date of election, a resident of District 4 at the time of filing and during the full term of office and registered to vote in the town.

    Anyone who wishes to file as a candidate for District 4 council member must file a Certification of Intention and pay a $50 filing fee no later March 11 at 4 p.m.

    The election will be held Saturday, April 11, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at town hall.

    For more information, or to file, call (302) 539-9797 or go to the Wallace A. Melson Municipal Building at 201 Central Avenue in Ocean View between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m., Mondays through Fridays.


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    Prior to the onset of civil war in 1861, Delaware decided to remain in the Union, even though it was one of 15 Southern states where the institution of slavery was still practiced. While choosing to side with the North, on the whole, Delaware was not enamored of newly-elected President Abraham Lincoln and his administration — in fact, it had voted against him in the elections of 1860 (see, “Lincoln and Delaware: Never a warm relationship.” Coastal Point, May 30, 2014).

    Nonetheless, in a message to a special session of Congress on July 4, 1861, about the fate of the United States nearly two months after hostilities between North and South erupted, Lincoln raised a question that he would address more dramatically two years hence at Gettysburg.

    As quoted in “The Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln,” nine volumes by Roy P. Basler, editor, he asked, “whether a constitutional republic … a government of the people, by the same people — can or cannot maintain its territorial integrity, against its own domestic foes.”

    Lincoln had no choice, he said, “but to call out the war power of the Government; and so to resist force, employed for its destruction, by force, for its preservation.” The president went on to lament that none of the slave states, except Delaware, raised a regiment of troops to defend the nation. He obviously was grateful to the First State for siding with the Union, and its willingness to defend it.

    In late 1861, with the intention of abolishing slavery peacefully and perhaps ending the war, Lincoln drafted a bill for Congress called Compensated Emancipation in Delaware. In his elaborate plan, Congress would pay the State of Delaware $719,200 in 31 annual and equal installments with the condition “there shall be neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, at any time after the first day in the year of our Lord one thousand, eight hundred and sixty-seven, within the said State of Delaware…”

    Emancipation of Delaware slaves would occur gradually. All born after the passage of the act would be born free, and all slaves above the age 35 would become free. All others would be free arriving at the age 35 until January 1893, when all remaining of all ages would become free, subject to apprenticeship for minors born of slave mothers.

    The Delaware General Assembly rejected this plan as intrusive on the rights and privileges of the State, but it was indicative of the president’s positive and hopeful view of Delaware in these trying times.

    This appreciative attitude toward Delaware is reflected again in the president’s annual message to Congress on Dec. 3, 1861. In discussing the newly-established Confederacy’s assault on Fort Sumter, Lincoln cited support for the Union south of the Mason-Dixon Line, whereas “noble little Delaware led off right from the first,” with Maryland, Kentucky and Missouri following its lead.

    Returning to the issue of slavery in a letter to Henry J. Raymond, founder and publisher of the New York Times, on March 9, 1862, Lincoln posed the question, “Have you noticed the facts that less than one half-day’s cost of this war would pay for all the slaves in Delaware, at four hundred dollars per head? Raymond responded by publishing “several articles in support of your message” and praised it as “a master-piece of practical wisdom and sound policy.”

    On Aug. 16, 1862, Lincoln wrote a detailed letter to Delaware Rep. George P. Fisher, reviewing Delaware’s manpower contributions to the war effort. His personal involvement was another indication of Lincoln’s concern about Delaware’s military support for the Union. However, from a political perspective, in his message to Congress in December 1862, he addressed apprehension on the part of whites about the growing free black population and its implication for security in the states, including Delaware.

    After Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation in January 1863, Secretary of the Treasury Salmon P. Chase proposed that it be applied to areas under federal control, and not just where rebellion still existed. The president firmly rejected this idea, because, if these exemptions were applied to the friendly slave states, such as Delaware, would “it not lose us the elections, and with them, the very cause we seek to advance?”

    Reelection was obviously on Lincoln’s mind and, in October 1864, he calculated prospective voting in the states. He listed Delaware’s three electoral votes in the opposition column. This prediction proved correct, as Delaware chose Democratic candidate Gen. George B. McClellan.

    Lincoln welcomed Delaware’s loyalty during the four years of conflict, yet Delawareans’ preference for separation of the races went counter to the president’s philosophy. They agreed to disagree for the sake of maintaining the Union.

    Bethany Beach resident Thomas J. Ryan is the author of “Spies, Scouts, and Secrets in the Gettysburg Campaign” (April 2015). Contact him at
    pennmardel@mchsi.com, or visit his website at www.tomryan-civilwar.com.


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    The National Wild Turkey Federation (NWTF) Lower Delaware Chapter held its 19th Annual Hunting Heritage Banquet this past weekend. The non-profit national organization focuses on upland wildlife habitat conservation in North America. Locally, the Delaware chapters have spent close to $35,000 on habitat improvement projects, more than $42,000 on education programs and literature, and $11,418 on wild turkey research.

    “Imagine a world where the young boy cannot go out and kill his first turkey… Imagine a world where a video game is the only entertainment our children will ever know,” said Shawn Weddle, NWTF regional director. “Imagine a world where you and I cannot enjoy the things we do when it comes to hunting and enjoying the outdoors.

    “Imagine a world where 6,000 acres of habitat are lost every single day. Imagine a world where an area as large as Yellowstone National Park is gone — every year. Ladies and gentlemen, whether you realize it or not, that’s the world we live in today.”

    Weddle said that statistics show that, every day, 6,000 acres of habitat are disappearing.

    “Many of you remember the day and time when this state had no turkeys. Every dollar raised, every hunting heritage banquet that we, as the NWTF, hold goes to make sure that does not happen.”

    Bob Ericson, NWTF regional biologist, noted that he had worked for state agencies for 25 years and knows that hunters are the driving force when it comes to conservation.

    “Each and every one of you who goes and buys a hunting and fishing license is a conservationist. For the last 42 years, I’ve had the privilege of working for the greatest conservationists in North America — the people who hunt and fish.”

    Ericson said that 85 percent of funding for fish and wildlife agencies in the country comes from hunters and anglers.

    “Nobody else has stepped up to pay the bills, and no one else ever will. We need to make sure our future is secure, that conservation in North America continues. The only way we can do that is to encourage people to hunt and fish.”

    Past chapter president Charles Spray introduced the crowd of more than 130 attendees at last week’s to his buddy Cody, a young man in elementary school, who has hunted with his father and even killed an alligator in Florida last spring. Spray noted that Cody also spends his free time fishing, wrestling and playing football, as well as going to school.

    “Just think if every kid had the opportunity Cody has,” emphasized Spray. “The ‘Save the Habitat. Save the Hunt’ program is a new initiative the federation started a few years ago.”

    Spray said the NWTF chapters of Delaware are working with the Delaware Department of Natural Resources & Environmental Control (DNREC) to create a mentoring program.

    “We’re trying to put together a mentor program so that some of these youth who don’t have the opportunities Cody has, maybe we can get them out in the field. Get them hunting, get them fishing,” he said, adding that they hope to have the program up and running in six months. “Mentoring isn’t taking him or her out one time… It’s a commitment.”

    Spray said the federation is currently looking for property owners and farmers who would be interested in allowing mentoring on their property, so those who are interested in joining may have a place to hunt.

    “It’s time for us all to step up, mentor other hunters, and bring them into the fold,” added Ericson.

    “We’re also going to try to create 1.5 million new hunters across the country. We can do that with our JAKES program and mentoring other hunters.”

    JAKES stands for Juniors Acquiring Knowledge, Ethics & Sportsmanship and is dedicated to informing, educating and involving youth in wildlife conservation and the wise stewardship of natural resources.

    “One of the greatest things the Delaware chapters have accomplished is their outreach programs, having youth events and women’s events, bringing people into outdoor activities,” he said.

    In the coming year, the chapter will hold its First Annual Lower Delaware NWTF Sporting Clay Shoot on April 26 beginning at 9 a.m. at Owens Station, followed by a JAKES event to be held June 20 beginning at 8:30 a.m., also at Owens Station, where participating youth will learn about BB guns and air rifles, fishing, sporting clays and more. Their Women in the Outdoors Event will be held Oct. 3 at 8:30 a.m. at Owens Station.

    Indian River High School senior Farris Hauck has been a JAKES member for years and said she loves being involved and likes participating the organization’s various activities.

    “You’re able to experience different types of guns, shooting clays and things like that. And self-defense, as well, which is cool,” she said. “Most of the stuff I’ve learned from my dad, but it’s nice to be taught by other people and see how they do things.”

    Hauck, who has been hunting with her father numerous times and has only killed small game, such as rabbits and squirrels, said she enjoys hunting.

    “I enjoy it. It’s good bonding time with my dad. It’s a cool feeling, because it’s an adrenaline rush, but it’s prideful — to shoot something and be able to eat it,” she said, adding it makes one feel closer to nature. “You have to sit still. All you have to look at is nature and listen to it and pay more attention to it.”

    She said that, although she knows hunting may not be for everyone, she would encourage people to at least try it once.

    Ericson said the NWTF has made a commitment over the next 10 years to conserve or enhance 4 million acres of property in the United States, as well as create 500,000 acres of additional access to hunters, to ensure hunting heritage continues to be preserved.

    “It’s not going to be easy. It’s going to take a lot of effort, a lot of work, but with folks like you coming out to dinners like this, raising funds, we can get it done,” he told those at the banquet.

    For more information on the Lower Delaware Chapter of NWTF, their upcoming events or how to become a member, contact Stacie Street at (302) 381-9354 or email staciestreet587@hotmail.com. For more information on NWTF, visit www.nwtf.org.


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    For nearly four years, the Seaside Railroad Club has been like a train without a station. After a 2011 fire destroyed their meeting space and many models stored at the Georgetown Train Station, they still continued serving the community, though without a central location. But the nomadic club is ready for a home, and it’s asking the community for help.

    “Maybe someone out there that has a building that would like to donate to a non-profit charity can help us along,” said Doc Dougherty, the club member leading the search for a new home. “I know there’s got to be a vacant building out there.”

    The nonprofit’s mission is to preserve and promote the history and hobby of model railroading.

    “Right from the get-go, we decided that we wanted to be a club that didn’t just sit around and talk about old trains but actually did something for the community,” member Bill Mixon said.

    “We need a place where we can meet, where we can set up some trains, where we can continue our activities of educating the public, of teaching kids how to run trains and things like that,” Mixon said. “It’d be nice if anyone had a storefront or building somewhere around here that they’d let us use, because we don’t have a lot of money. That would be terrific.”

    The optimal space would be 1,800 to 2,000 square feet, located near Bethany Beach or Millsboro. Heat, electricity and public restrooms are required.

    “We can’t just do this in a barn with a third floor. The public comes in, … and the [electric] trains do better at a constant temperature,” Dougherty explained. Delmar’s club rents the second floor of a church.

    Railroad clubs are even good for business. In South Carolina, Dougherty said, shopping malls seek railroad clubs to rent space.

    “In Myrtle Beach, right next to Target, there’s a model railroad club, because of the traffic it brings in there. We bring in a lot of kids,” he said.

    Kids are absolutely drawn to model railroads, he said.

    “They can run their own trolleys. They can hit buttons that make sirens go off or church bells ring. … They stand on a platform, and they run the trains.”

    “It’s fun to see a 5- to 10-year-old all of a sudden discover it, get interactive with it and be fascinated by it,” club member Bill Zeigler said in 2013. “To watch a little kid walk around and following it — they will literally start following the train around the layout, weaving in and out of people.”

    “If you’ve got a full-scale model, you got to walk it five or six times to see all the detail,” Dougherty said.

    “My father started making [model] railroad cars before I was born. I have cars in my display cases older than I am,” Dougherty noted with a laugh. “Most of the other guys are the same history. They got one model train set, and it sticks with them all their lives.”

    After the fire, the club couldn’t afford space in the renovated Georgetown Train Station, so the club has roamed around Sussex County, displaying at libraries and fire halls and events such as the this weekend’s Seaford Train Show, on Feb. 28, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., or the Roxana fire hall on May 2.

    The club is aiming to raise “public awareness, or we’re looking for donations to help us get a place,” Dougherty said.

    Their challenge is which comes first: the chicken or the egg.

    “If we had a place, we could have a number of tours annually and make money, but we don’t have the money to get the place,” Dougherty said.

    They are also seeking someone who could help with grant-writing for several major prizes for which the club hopes to apply. Anyone interested in helping the club can contact Doc Dougherty at jodoc@mchsi.com or (302) 539-3891. Learn more about the club online at www.delawareseasiderailroadclub.com.


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    Detectives from the Delaware State Police Sussex Drug Unit, Sussex County Governor’s Task Force, Special Operations Response Team (SORT) and the Georgetown Police Department last week conducted search warrants that led to the arrest of three people in the culmination of an investigation into illegal drug sales.

    Delaware State Police Public Information Officer Master Cpl. Jeffrey Hale said the investigation occurred over a month-long period, after it was learned that Antonio K. Jones, 37, and Darrell Dixon, 40, were allegedly conducting illegal drug sales from homes in Frankford and Georgetown.

    “The two male defendants are cousins, and the investigations are related,” explained Hale.

    Jones, as well as his girlfriend, Patricia Ayers, 40, were located and detained following a traffic stop on Zion Church Road near Frankford. A search warrant was then executed at their apartment on Reed Street, where 195 grams of suspected powder cocaine, 313 grams of suspected crack cocaine, more than two pounds of suspected marijuana and more than $26,000 in cash were recovered.

    Jones and Ayers were both arrested and each charged with two counts of Possession of Cocaine in a Tier 5 Quantity, two counts of Possession with the Intent to Deliver Cocaine in a Tier 4 Quantity, Possession of Marijuana in a Tier 1 Quantity, Conspiracy in the Second Degree and two counts of Possession of Drug Paraphernalia.

    Jones was committed to the Sussex Correctional Institution for lack of $255,400 cash bail. Ayers was committed to the Delores Baylor Correctional Institution for lack of $255,400 cash bail.

    Dixon was located and detained following a traffic stop on DuPont Boulevard in Georgetown. A search of Dixon himself revealed that he was in possession of 8.2 grams of powder cocaine. A secondary search warrant was then conducted at Dixon’s residence at the Dunbarton Oaks Apartments in Georgetown. There, detectives located a 7.62 SKS semi-automatic rifle.

    Darrell Dixon was arrested and charged with Possession with the Intent to Deliver Cocaine, Possession of Cocaine in a Tier 1 Quantity, and two counts of Possession of Drug Paraphernalia. He was committed to Sussex Correctional Institution for lack of $31,000 cash bail.

    Hale said investigation into the weapon that was seized is being conducted by the Georgetown Police Department.


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    The Delaware State Police Sussex County Drug Unit arrested four people after the culmination of a several-month investigation into illegal drug sales from a residence on Nora Lane near Millsboro.

    According to the DSP, on Monday, Feb. 16, around 6:10 a.m., the Sussex County Drug Task Force, with the assistance of the Sussex County Governor’s Task Force and Delaware State Police Special Operations Response Team (SORT), conducted a search warrant in the 27000 block of Nora Lane.

    A total of 386 bags of suspected heroin, weighing approximately 5.79 grams, .1 gram of suspected cocaine, 4.9 grams of suspected marijuana, a Suboxone strip, suspected drug paraphernalia and more than $2,200 in suspected drug proceeds. Also located and recovered was a stolen .40 caliber handgun with three fully-loaded ammunition magazines.

    “Any amount of drugs recovered is considered substantial, especially when we are dealing with any type of dangerous and addicting drugs,” explained Master Cpl. Gary Fournier, public information officer for the DSP.

    “The threshold can depend on the packaging and paraphernalia found along with the drugs. For example, a gram of heroin, with no items like a scale, plastic bags or other items that are typically used in the distribution of the drug, would just be possession. Having all the other items leads to the charge of distribution or intent to deliver.”

    Fournier said that the drugs and firearm would be stored in an evidence locker until the case is adjudicated in court.

    Tyrone M. Adkins, 38; Sheree M. Abdussalaam, 45; Nathan A. Thompson, 25;, and Rashell K. Thompson, 20 — all of whom lived in the home Nora Lane — were taken into custody and transported back to Troop 4 in Georgetown.

    Adkins was charged with Possession with Intent to Deliver Heroin, two counts of Possession of a Firearm/Ammunition by a Person Prohibited, Possession of a Controlled Substance (Heroin), Receiving a Stolen Firearm, Conspiracy 2nd, Possession of Marijuana, and Possession of Drug Paraphernalia. He was being held at Sussex Correctional Institution on $50,200 cash bond.

    Abdussalaam was charged with Possession of a Deadly Weapon by a Person Prohibited who also Possesses a Controlled Substance, Maintaining a Drug Property and Conspiracy 2nd. She was released on $13,000 unsecured bond.

    Nathan Thompson was charged with Possession of Marijuana and Possession of Heroin. He was arraigned released on $1,000 unsecured bond. Rashell Thompson was charged with Possession of Marijuana and Possession of Cocaine. She was released on $1,000 unsecured bond.

    “Again, any dangerous drugs, such as heroin, are extremely important to investigators,” added Fournier. “The time spent on each case may vary; but, ultimately, making the arrests of the subjects dealing these addicting substances and getting it off the streets is the ultimate goal.”


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    Delaware public students are already spending a lot less time in standardized testing. This year, the State shifted to the Delaware System of Student Assessments (DeSSA), meaning that, after years of interrupting classrooms three times annually for state standardized tests, Delaware is returning to a one-time student assessment.

    It’s also pumping up the amount of knowledge students must show. Whereas the formerly used Delaware Comprehensive Assessment System (DCAS) was heavy on multiple-choice questions, the new Smarter Balanced test will measure students’ grasp of the Common Core education standards, which call for more writing and critical thinking.

    “Common Core standards … help tell us what our curriculum should be teaching,” said Jay Owens, Indian River School District director of compliance. “We use assessments to see where our students are.”

    Almost all grades take the math and English language arts state test (grades 3 to 8, and high school juniors), but only a handful are used to evaluate the district on a higher scale.

    While the test is in place for students statewide this year, there are still some unknowns. Several schools piloted the Smarter Balanced test in 2014, but thousands of students and teachers must now learn a new computer program. And new information is coming from the Department of Education regularly.

    “I think [kids] are used to being online. It may look a little differently but, hopefully, they’ll be able to navigate it,” Owens said.

    Although it’s unfamiliar this year, the shorter test window will mean fewer disruptions.

    “I think the teachers really appreciate that, but there is anxiety of new [tests],” Owens said.

    In the past, there were whispers of students intentionally bombing the autumn test so their springtime success would show even greater growth and improvement.

    “Kids are crafty,” Owens acknowledged, but he said that trick wasn’t advocated by IRSD. “Now you’re taking one test. You’ve got do your best. We’re encouraging all our students to do well.”

    Lower scores are expected this year. But that’s not to say that IRSD students and staff are performing at a low level, Owens said. The test is simply more demanding than in years past.

    “We are confident our students and schools will improve and meet the higher expectations,” Owens said.

    About 20 U.S. states are using Smarter Balanced, so the IRSD will be able to see exactly how it compares, on an apples-to-apples nationwide scale.

    Standardized tests change about every five or six years, Owens said.

    New this year is the performance task, where students will learn a new topic and then do a project based on it.

    For instance, the teacher is given materials to present a 30-minute lesson on a particular subject, such as seashells or skyscrapers. Later on, students will have a performance task, such as a persuasive essay, based on that subject.

    The task isn’t meant to test memorization skills regarding butterflies, but instead aims to make students comfortable with the subject before they write about it, “in order to make sure the assessment is equitable to all,” said Will Revels, IRSD supervisor of secondary instruction, “pull that cultural bias out.”

    Not every child grows up surrounded by Atlantic seashells.

    “Kids around here would do pretty well at that, but if I lived in Kansas, I would need to have some idea what a seashell is and some vocabulary about it,” said Mike Lingenfelter, IRSD testing coordinator.

    One performance task may be an essay, in which students have to give an opinion and back up that argument up with good reasoning.

    “It’s more than regurgitating information,” Revels said. “I’m really excited, because it’s real-world applications.”

    DCAS did not have extended writing responses, though older versions of state test did include essays.

    During the performance task, students can use tools including a dictionary, calculator or spell-check.

    “During the performance task, it no longer becomes about readability. It becomes more about how you can answer this. … It’s not a reading test at this point. It’s more research, a higher-level test,” said Lingenfelter.

    “We’re moving to instruction where students are very much involved,” said IRSD Superintendent Susan Bunting. “We want them to be thinkers, and this test really pushes them to be thinkers.”

    For now, science and social studies will continue to be tested under DCAS. Testing begins in April for science (grades 5, 8 and 10) and in May for social studies (grades 4 and 7).

    This year’s test is also offered in different languages.

    Individual schools decide when to give the test, which may last four to six days. The testing window begins March 10 for grades 3 to 8, and April 18 for grade 11, running until June.

    Schools can also choose whether to practice with interim assessments, although teachers need training on how to accurately hand-score the new test.

    Because the tests require hand-scoring, students will not get any immediate results, as they did after taking the DCAS (which Lingenfelter said featured more multiple choice and live people scoring the written responses electronically). Families will receive the student reports in July, and statewide scores will be released in August. Students earn a numeric score, from 1 to 4.

    The new DeSSA assessments were designed with the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium, one of several groups tasked with creating student assessments for the new Common Core State Standards.

    For more information, visit http://de.portal.airast.org or www.DelExcels.org.


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    Delaware public students are already spending a lot less time in standardized testing. This year, the State shifted to the Delaware System of Student Assessments (DeSSA), meaning that, after years of interrupting classrooms three times annually for state standardized tests, Delaware is returning to a one-time student assessment.

    It’s also pumping up the amount of knowledge students must show. Whereas the formerly used Delaware Comprehensive Assessment System (DCAS) was heavy on multiple-choice questions, the new Smarter Balanced test will measure students’ grasp of the Common Core education standards, which call for more writing and critical thinking.

    “Common Core standards … help tell us what our curriculum should be teaching,” said Jay Owens, Indian River School District director of compliance. “We use assessments to see where our students are.”

    Almost all grades take the math and English language arts state test (grades 3 to 8, and high school juniors), but only a handful are used to evaluate the district on a higher scale.

    While the test is in place for students statewide this year, there are still some unknowns. Several schools piloted the Smarter Balanced test in 2014, but thousands of students and teachers must now learn a new computer program. And new information is coming from the Department of Education regularly.

    “I think [kids] are used to being online. It may look a little differently but, hopefully, they’ll be able to navigate it,” Owens said.

    Although it’s unfamiliar this year, the shorter test window will mean fewer disruptions.

    “I think the teachers really appreciate that, but there is anxiety of new [tests],” Owens said.

    In the past, there were whispers of students intentionally bombing the autumn test so their springtime success would show even greater growth and improvement.

    “Kids are crafty,” Owens acknowledged, but he said that trick wasn’t advocated by IRSD. “Now you’re taking one test. You’ve got do your best. We’re encouraging all our students to do well.”

    Lower scores are expected this year. But that’s not to say that IRSD students and staff are performing at a low level, Owens said. The test is simply more demanding than in years past.

    “We are confident our students and schools will improve and meet the higher expectations,” Owens said.

    About 20 U.S. states are using Smarter Balanced, so the IRSD will be able to see exactly how it compares, on an apples-to-apples nationwide scale.

    Standardized tests change about every five or six years, Owens said.

    New this year is the performance task, where students will learn a new topic and then do a project based on it.

    For instance, the teacher is given materials to present a 30-minute lesson on a particular subject, such as seashells or skyscrapers. Later on, students will have a performance task, such as a persuasive essay, based on that subject.

    The task isn’t meant to test memorization skills regarding butterflies, but instead aims to make students comfortable with the subject before they write about it, “in order to make sure the assessment is equitable to all,” said Will Revels, IRSD supervisor of secondary instruction, “pull that cultural bias out.”

    Not every child grows up surrounded by Atlantic seashells.

    “Kids around here would do pretty well at that, but if I lived in Kansas, I would need to have some idea what a seashell is and some vocabulary about it,” said Mike Lingenfelter, IRSD testing coordinator.

    One performance task may be an essay, in which students have to give an opinion and back up that argument up with good reasoning.

    “It’s more than regurgitating information,” Revels said. “I’m really excited, because it’s real-world applications.”

    DCAS did not have extended writing responses, though older versions of state test did include essays.

    During the performance task, students can use tools including a dictionary, calculator or spell-check.

    “During the performance task, it no longer becomes about readability. It becomes more about how you can answer this. … It’s not a reading test at this point. It’s more research, a higher-level test,” said Lingenfelter.

    “We’re moving to instruction where students are very much involved,” said IRSD Superintendent Susan Bunting. “We want them to be thinkers, and this test really pushes them to be thinkers.”

    For now, science and social studies will continue to be tested under DCAS. Testing begins in April for science (grades 5, 8 and 10) and in May for social studies (grades 4 and 7).

    This year’s test is also offered in different languages.

    Individual schools decide when to give the test, which may last four to six days. The testing window begins March 10 for grades 3 to 8, and April 18 for grade 11, running until June.

    Schools can also choose whether to practice with interim assessments, although teachers need training on how to accurately hand-score the new test.

    Because the tests require hand-scoring, students will not get any immediate results, as they did after taking the DCAS (which Lingenfelter said featured more multiple choice and live people scoring the written responses electronically). Families will receive the student reports in July, and statewide scores will be released in August. Students earn a numeric score, from 1 to 4.

    The new DeSSA assessments were designed with the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium, one of several groups tasked with creating student assessments for the new Common Core State Standards.

    For more information, visit http://de.portal.airast.org or www.DelExcels.org.


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    Amidst rumors that poultry company Mountaire Farms is considering purchasing a 300-acre property in Millsboro, a public meeting was held last weekend to discuss residents’ concerns about a potential deal and the potential uses of the property, located between Revel and Hudson roads.

    Organized by Community Opposed to Secret Transaction (COST), with the help of Maria Payan of the Socially Responsible Agricultural Project — the same group aiding Millsboro-area citizens’ group Protecting Our Indian River in its fight against the Allen Harim processing plant planned on the site of a former Vlasic plant — the meeting drew approximately 75 attendees.

    Two representatives from Mountaire Farms also attended the meeting, including Mike Tirrell, vice-president of human resources and business services, who explained that the current proposed use for the property is as an office site, not a processing facility.

    “When we heard that some of the information that was being disseminated in the community, we thought it would be best to come here and talk to you, and the seller agreed to that,” said Tirrell.

    He emphasized that Mountaire is currently bound by a confidentiality agreement with the seller of the property that prohibits them from disclosing who owns the property and that no applications to change the current zoning of the property had been submitted to Sussex County.

    A number of attendees at the meeting said they had understood that the property had been willed to Grace Methodist Church. Tirrell reiterated that he could not reveal the property’s owner, as Mountaire was under a strict confidentiality agreement, created, he said, “so incomplete or incorrect information would not create misunderstandings.”

    Tirrell confirmed that Mountaire has signed a letter of intent to purchase a property in Millsboro, and he said the company believes in being a good corporate citizen and having a positive impact in the community where they live and do business.

    “Mountaire is in negotiations to purchase a property for construction of a commercial office building,” he explained. “The property is under review for suitability for that project, and that project only. There are no new production facilities included in this project.”

    Revel Road resident Isaac Goodman said he understood that Mountaire has the right to own property but questioned the confidentiality agreement.

    “Because if it’s done publicly, then there would be no reason for this meeting. But because it is done in secret, we know as common-sense people that people hide because they don’t want to reveal the truth… What are you hiding from the public?”

    Tirrell said there is a difference between a transaction and a letter of intent, and confidentiality agreements are commonplace when it comes to commercial properties.

    “It just means that, while the due diligence is being done, it’s not subject to scrutiny because it may not even happen,” he explained, adding that the land needs to be studied to see if it will hold the office building, and be able to support a stormwater management system, and internet and phone service.

    The potential new facility would be a workplace for Mountaire employees who had previously worked out of an office building in Selbyville that had to be torn down and others who have worked at offices in Millsboro that were originally built as a hatchery.

    Tirrell said that soil testing and boring had yet to be done on the site; therefore, the company could not determine how big the office building could be.

    Plantation Lakes resident Jim Birch asked why the company was looking to purchase so much acreage for just an office building. Tirrell responded that Mountaire had looked at multiple properties in a variety of sizes but chose to consider purchasing the 300-acre property. Some of the land, he said, is unsuitable for building, as much of it is clay. Part of the property’s appeal, he added, was its proximity to current Mountaire offices.

    “There are no plans — no plans — to build any production facility at this time,” he said, noting that the seller decides how much of the land they want to sell.

    Birch said he understood the assertion of Mountaire having “no plans” but requested Mountaire consider cutting off its acreage use to 75 of the 300 acres, and writing an agreement stating no more than that would be used for 99 years.

    Plantation Lakes resident Karen Keough noted that she had moved to the community from Wharton’s Bluff following Allen Harim’s purchase of the Vlasic plant.

    “It’s following me,” she said. “It’s so sad.”

    Another attendee said he was concerned about the potential long-term impacts on surrounding property values and water issues.

    “I came from Pennsylvania, and the air quality here is unbelievably bad. We had no idea when we moved here what we were getting into. We didn’t know when we walked out the door that we were going to be inundated with some horrible chicken smells,” added another attendee.

    Millsboro resident Dottie LeCates said she was most concerned about the effect on water and air quality.

    “Those two elements none of us can live without,” she said.

    Tirrell stated that, if something like a production facility were to be constructed, Mountaire would have to go through “huge hurdles,” and, as with all zoning applications, theirs would have to go through a public process, which would include public hearings.

    “Is this going to mean jobs and economic growth for Sussex County?” asked one attendee.

    “It will for the people who build it,” he responded.

    “That’s all I need to know. Thank you.”

    Attendee Lesia Jones — who grew up across the street from the 300-acre property, on property that is still owned by her family and was once farmed — said that many of the property’s immediate neighbors were not in attendance at last weekend’s meeting.

    “A lot of locals who are facing the property are not here,” she said. “Most have moved to the area.”

    Jones said she decided to attend the meeting because a flyer was left on her parents’ mailbox, but that she wanted to make sure the meeting, and any future meetings, would be productive.

    “If we’re going to have intelligent conversations with Mountaire — and Maria — we need to identify ourselves, and we need to come together, and we need to have a way to share correct information with each other, so that it’s not just personal beliefs of what’s going to happen.”

    Payan said she agreed, and wanted to have a conversation with the Rev. Edward Kuhling of Grace United Methodist Church; however, he respectfully declined to speak with her.

    “The pastor was not willing to have a conversation, and that was his choice.”

    “He doesn’t have the authority,” said Jones, noting that it would have to go through a church committee.

    Payan said she did receive a call from the attorney for the church following her initial conversation with the pastor.

    “I just wanted to have a conversation, as a human being, about possible community concerns,” she said, adding that Kuhling had been invited to attend and speak at the meeting.

    “Our goal at this meeting was to tell the community what we know, as of a couple days ago. Our goals were to ask Mountaire for a meeting… to talk to the community about their plans,” she said, adding that they had also wanted someone from the church to address the community.

    Following the question-and-answer session with Tirrell, Payan gave a brief presentation. Stating that she understood that companies such as Mountaire are an important economic driver and provide jobs, she said the confidentiality agreement still raises red flags.

    “This problem is way beyond this property. There is a greater problem that needs to be addressed,” she said, adding that zoning and potential health ordinances need to be discussed. “This is happening all over. It’s not just your community… Agriculture has become much bigger, and it’s not just the family farm with two houses.”

    Payan said that, in doing research for the meeting, she had found that Mountaire’s East Millsboro site over the past three years has had four quarters when there were violations of the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) Clean Air Act. From 2007 to 2014, she said, the facility had 17 violations with the Delaware Department of Natural Resources & Environmental Control.

    Residents should be concerned, she said, about impacts on health, well water, property values, quality of life and the potential for a methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) infection arising from the hazards posed.

    “There are more chickens than people in Sussex County. There’s more waste from chickens than waste from people in Sussex County,” she said. “Ninety percent of the water of the water in Delaware is unswimmable. Ninety-three percent doesn’t support aquatic life… We can all do better.”

    Payan said zoning is crucial in avoiding conflicts, such as potential conflicts that could arise from having a commercial facility next to residentially zoned properties.

    “Zoning is supposed to provide for the harmonious existence for all citizens. A major element under the code is to have zones for all reasonable uses. The major reasonable uses in a residential zone are all activities related to enjoyment of personal property. People who live in a residential area have the right to enjoy their property. They expect — correctly — to be protected from any use in their zone that would infringe on this right.

    “They should not have a threat of any large-scale industrialized operation being allowed in a residential zone. They should be able to garden, open their windows in summer, have picnics. And their children should be able to play outside without noxious odors and threats to their water, air quality and property values.”

    Payan also quoted Mountaire’s creed, “To provide quality and service consistently. To be honest and fair with everyone, including customers, suppliers, community neighbors and each other.”

    “I’m glad to see that they came, because the confidentiality doesn’t seem to agree with their creed.”


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