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Articles on this Page
- 05/07/15--13:57: _Sussex County param...
- 05/07/15--13:58: _POIR appeals remedi...
- 05/07/15--14:04: _School district loc...
- 05/07/15--14:05: _Frankford names War...
- 05/07/15--14:08: _Candidates get fina...
- 05/12/15--11:14: _BREAKING NEWS: New ...
- 05/14/15--07:59: _Vietnam veterans ho...
- 05/15/15--10:02: _Harry Anderson to a...
- 05/15/15--10:03: _Friends of the Mill...
- 05/15/15--10:28: _Art of March for Ch...
- 05/15/15--11:35: _Eagle Scout project...
- 05/15/15--12:20: _Keeping it professi...
- 05/15/15--12:25: _EMS Day returning t...
- 05/15/15--12:28: _Selbyville road clo...
- 05/15/15--13:06: _Annual cornhole tou...
- 05/15/15--13:09: _Bombhardt named top...
- 05/15/15--13:20: _County council revi...
- 05/15/15--13:32: _Ocean View keeps tr...
- 05/15/15--13:33: _IRSD board members ...
- 05/15/15--13:34: _Route 26 moves to n...
- 05/07/15--13:57: Sussex County paramedics to hold paint party
- 05/07/15--13:58: POIR appeals remediation plan for former Pinnacle site
- 05/07/15--14:04: School district locked down after East Millsboro threat
- 05/07/15--14:05: Frankford names Warchol as new police chief
- 05/07/15--14:08: Candidates get final say before school board election
- 05/14/15--07:59: Vietnam veterans honored
- 05/15/15--10:02: Harry Anderson to appear in Dickens fundraiser shows
- 05/15/15--10:03: Friends of the Millsboro Library preparing for annual book sale
- 05/15/15--10:28: Art of March for Change to unify focus on art, music, healthy living
- 05/15/15--11:35: Eagle Scout project takes some weight off IR’s shoulders
- 05/15/15--12:20: Keeping it professional: Making IRHS students into business pros
- 05/15/15--12:25: EMS Day returning to Bethany Beach on Saturday, May 16
- 05/15/15--12:28: Selbyville road closed, showing signs of collapse
- 05/15/15--13:06: Annual cornhole tournament to benefit foundation
- 05/15/15--13:09: Bombhardt named top elementary school counselor in state
- 05/15/15--13:20: County council reviews budget for 2016 fiscal year
- 05/15/15--13:32: Ocean View keeps traffic lights, discusses micro-surfacing
- 05/15/15--13:33: IRSD board members get re-elected
- 05/15/15--13:34: Route 26 moves to nighttime lane closures — for summer
Each year, more than 100 bicyclists join together for a weeklong bike ride to honor those who have lost their lives working in emergency services.
“We ride in honor of people who were killed in the line of duty or from causes related to doing our job,” said Sussex County Paramedic Barry Hoke, who has been coordinating the group of riders for the last three years.
The National EMS Memorial Bike Ride started in 2001. The ride has four routes, and the Delaware Winged Riders will be participating in the East Coast Route, riding from Boston, Mass., to Alexandria, Va., from May 16 to May 23.
“It’s not a race; it’s a ride,” said Hoke. “It’s to raise awareness that these are dangerous jobs. We’re out there protecting the public and providing a service that’s dangerous.”
Each year, the Delaware Winged Riders ride in honor of Sussex County Paramedic Stephanie Callaway — a mother, sister, daughter, coworker and friend — who was killed in a line-of-duty death seven years ago, while tending to a patient in the back of an ambulance. Callaway was 31 years old and left behind two boys. She was a paramedic with Sussex County EMS, whom coworkers said loved her job and taking care of her community.
The Delaware Winged Riders will also be riding in support of Delaware City EMT and firefighter Michelle Smith, who was killed a few months after Callaway. Smith was a 29-year-old mother, wife and daughter who was struck and killed by an oncoming car while treating a patient.
“We’re always riding for them, but we’re riding for everybody else, too,” said Hoke.
The Delaware Winged Riders will ride with the Delaware Muddy Angels, a local group of emergency medical personnel, EMTs, paramedics and nurses from Sussex County that participates in the National EMS Memorial Bike Ride.
It is their mission to raise public awareness about line of duty deaths, honor all EMS workers that continue to save lives despite dangerous conditions, and promote healthy lifestyles for EMS providers through physical activity and good nutrition.
Hoke said it costs approximately $1,000 per rider to make the trip, and the group is currently participating in a number of fundraising efforts to raise that money. This year, one nurse, two EMTs and four paramedics from Sussex County will ride.
As part of those fundraising efforts, the Delaware Winged Riders will host its first Paint Party at the Millville Volunteer Fire Company on Wednesday, May 13, from 7 to 9 p.m. Tickets cost $35 per person, and Hoke said seating is limited. Those who attend will get to paint an American flag with the Statue of Liberty.
The BYOB event will also feature a 50/50, door prizes and raffles. Food will also be available for those who wish to eat.
“People can come out and relax and just have a good time,” he said.
Those who cannot attend the paint party but wish to still support the ride may make a tax-deductible donation to Sussex County Paramedic Association (SCPA). A 501(c)4 receipt can be provided upon request for tax purposes.
On May 9, the group will host a Pedal Off Party at 16 Mile brewery in Georgetown, starting at noon, and featuring a fire department vehicle rescue competition. The party will include food, raffle items and a 50/50.
“It’s kind of our sendoff party, to get everyone pumped up for the ride.”
During the 600-mile bike ride, Hoke said, riders and their support team — known as “wingmen” — will stop at different fire stations along the route and honor those emergency services personnel who have died in that state.
“When we stop, the names of those who are fallen are read and a bell is rung one time for each individual.”
Hoke said their support person, who’s also a rider at times, is part of the FDNY in New York City.
“They start at Central Park on the north side. We get a full police escort, and they shutdown Times Square for our support vehicles. Lights and sirens go on, and the guys riding in the parade get to ride through. They’re escorted all the way down to Staten Island, where they get on the ferry across to New Jersey.
“They said there was nothing more heart-wrenching and grabbing and emotional than the ride through New York City with all those bikes in front of you and to see everyone on the Jumbotron.”
Hoke said that, on any given day, the memorial ride has 80 to 150 riders.
“You can ride the whole week; you can ride a day, two days, three days, whatever,” he said. “Some people continue to come back. Sometimes, people don’t know anybody who’s being honored but they ride to raise awareness. Some people participate as riders, others as support staff. Some riders, if they get tired and don’t want to ride anymore, they can become supports and help out.”
Riders vary in experience levels from beginner to advanced, and Hoke said it’s wonderful to see that, no matter where you are, as an emergency services provider, you’re part of a brother and sisterhood.
“We’re family, no matter where we are,” he said. “It’s interesting — you’ll have an experienced rider out there that could probably go fly down the road and leave everybody behind. And sometimes they do that. But they also know that there are new riders out there…
“It’s really encouraging just to see two experienced riders slow down for someone who is struggling and put their hand on the small of your back and help them up that hill or make that last 5 or 10 miles. It shows you how much of a tight-knit family we are. It’s not about winning a race. It’s not about getting your name out there. It’s about the people we ride for.”
Hoke, who has never before ridden in the memorial ride, has worked as a wingman for the last three years and in 2014 was named Bike Support Person of the Year.
“I’m hauling everything — bananas, water, protein bars,” he said, noting that wingmen also go ahead of the riders to help set up for food stops and rest stops.
He added that each support team works just as hard as the bike riders, noting that, while he never got on a bike last year, he lost weight during the ride.
Everyone who participates in the ride is a volunteer who has taken time off from work to participate.
“This isn’t just us. Our local group is just one part of this ride,” he said, adding that people come from all over the country, and at times the world, for the ride — “people who have come from Italy. Two years ago, our little state of Delaware had the most people from one state riding. We’re the second smallest state, and we had the most people riding.”
Hoke said Sussex County Paramedics, comprising approximately 110 emergency services personnel, have almost 25 years of service in the county and are proud of what they do for the community.
“There’s a long history here, and we’re providing advanced medical care before these people are getting to the hospital. Some of them are heart attacks and strokes,” he said. “We’re actually giving drugs and reading EKGs, calling the hospital ahead of time and cutting down time in the emergency room.”
The weeklong ride is moving and emotional, said Hoke, and he encouraged the community to support the Delaware Winged Riders and emergency service personnel in honoring those who have fallen.
“Each rider and support person carries two dogtags of all the people we’re honoring, with their name, the department they belonged to and their date of death. You carry those dogtags all week. Sometimes, along the way, if we stop at a station or rest stop, and those persons’ families are there, the rider then presents one of the dogtags to the family.
“Everybody has their story — why they ride or who they ride for, what keeps them coming back. It’s a phenomenal group of people.”
To purchase tickets to the fundraisers, make a donation, or learn more about the ride, call Barry Hoke at (302) 448-0123, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call Lars Granholm at (302) 236-2444 or email email@example.com. To learn more about the National EMS Memorial Bike Ride, visit www.muddyangels.com.
Sussex County grassroots groups Protecting Our Indian River (POIR) and Inland Bays Foundation Inc. are currently waiting for a decision by Superior Court Judge Richard F. Stokes regarding their appeal of a remediation plan approved by the Delaware Department of Environmental Control’s (DNREC) Environmental Appeals Board.
The remediation plan for the 107.3-acre former pickling facility to be converted into a poultry processing plant by Allen Harim Foods is part of the Delaware Brownfield Development Program “encourages the cleanup and redevelopment of vacant, abandoned or underutilized properties which may be contaminated.”
On April 29, attorney Kenneth Kristl of Widener Environmental and Natural Resources Law Clinic, representing POIR and the Inland Bays Foundation argued that the remediation plan is not enough.
He stated that during the hearings prior to the plan’s approval, there was expert testimony that showed there were contaminants, including nitrates and cobalt, found at the site were seeping into the groundwater and moving offsite, affecting neighboring properties.
He stated that while there was testimony stating that the cobalt levels were likely from septic waste there was “no evidence in the record to support that finding.”
The site is located at 29984 Pinnacle Way, just outside of Millsboro. In 2013, Harim entered into a Brownfield development agreement, promising to clean up hazardous contaminants left from Vlasic’s nearly 40 years of operation there, before spending an estimated $100 million to redevelop the site for its processing plant.
Kristl said there should be monitoring outside of the property in order to determine if the contamination is moving off-site.
“All my clients want to do is find out if there’s a connection,” said Kristl, noting that the planned monitoring system for the site is “inadequate.”
Attorney Jeremy Homer, who represented Allen Harim at the hearing stated that levels of contaminants such as nitrates and cobalt on the site were found to be below levels of concentration harmful to human heath.
“That’s the key to the whole case,” he said. Adding, “How far do you have to look to say you’ve adequately looked for it?”
Homer said the burden of proof should not be on his client or DNREC.
“That just doesn’t make sense,” he said. “I find this argument is very far fetched in terms of what the Court’s being asked to do.”
DNREC attorney Keith Brady of the Delaware Department of Justice said Kristl suggested that DNREC was in violation of the law and the departments own regulations.
“We believe that’s a mischaracterization of what DNREC actually did,” saying that DNREC actually extended its investigation.
“Our position is clear—DNREC wants the public to know it takes its job seriously.”
Following the hearing, Maria Payan of the Socially Responsible Agricultural Project, who has been helping the two groups appealing the plan, said, “I thought it went very well. I think that it was clearly pointed out that their expert and DNREC did no testing off-site,” she said. “We need data not theories in order to prove a set of facts.”
Along with Stokes’ decision regarding the Environmental Appeals Board’s decision, the groups are awaiting his decision regarding their appeal of the Sussex County Board of Adjustment special-use exception that allows the chicken processing plant to move forward at the site. Arguments for that appeal were heard in October 2014. There was no timeframe given as to when a decision for either appeal would be made. Following Stokes’ opinion, both parties could appeal to the Delaware Supreme Court.
East Millsboro Elementary School received a threat on Tuesday, May 5, which placed the entire Indian River School District in a low-level lockdown.
According to Delaware State Police, around 9:50 a.m. “an unknown person called the main office of East Millsboro Elementary School, located at 29346 Iron Branch Road, Millsboro, and threatened to harm the children at that school.”
Following established district safety procedures, all IRSD schools were placed on low-level lockdown as a precaution. Classes continued, but students were kept indoors.
All children were safe and instruction would continue, IRSD officials told families in an automated phone call. All visitors thereafter were closely monitored.
Schools resumed normal operations about 12:20 p.m., after it was determined the threat was not credible. However, police maintained an increased presence at the schools throughout the day.
Delaware State Police were continuing their investigation into the incident this week. Anyone with information relating to the incident is being asked to call Detective J. Hudson at (302) 732-1500, or contact Delaware Crime Stoppers at 1-800-TIP-3333, online at www.delaware.crimestoppersweb.com, or by sending an anonymous tip by text to 274637 (CRIMES) using the keyword “DSP.”
The Frankford Town Council announced at its meeting this week that their vacant police chief position had been filled by Michael Warchol. Chief Warchol’s first day with the Town was April 27. He had previously been chief of police at the Ellendale Police Department.
“I’ve always preferred law enforcement in a small-town setting,” he said on Tuesday. “You’re able to be more personable with people. I like that. I like the fact that last night at the [town council] meeting, the guys were chatting with me and seemed to be excited that the police department opened up.”
After serving in the U.S. Navy, Warchol started his career in law enforcement in 1987, as a prison guard for the Florida Department of Corrections. In 1989, he went to the police academy to become a Florida police officer, and started with the Leesburg (Fla.) Police Department. After three years in that department, he moved on to the Lake County (Fla.) Sherriff’s Office. During his nine years there, he went from road patrol duty to being a detective in 11 months.
“Everything from misdemeanor crimes up,” he said. “When I left, I was a major-crimes investigator assigned to sex crimes, basically.”
Warchol then went to work for the Walt Disney World Corporation in Orlando, Fla.
“I was an investigator for them at the parks there in Orlando. I investigated everything for them that I investigated for the sheriff — I just didn’t have arrest powers,” he said. “They had a very busy security department, and the investigations end was very busy.”
But Warchol said he missed being in traditional law enforcement, so he took a job with the Mount Dora (Fla.) Police Department. There, he met his wife, Elizabeth.
He later went on to work more than eight years at the Mascotte (Fla.) Police Department, which he left as deputy chief.
“My wife went to work for the Department of Homeland Security. She’s a Homeland Security investigator based out of Ocean City, Md.,” he explained of their arrival in Delmarva.
Following the Warchols’ move to Delaware in 2009, he worked for the Georgetown SPCA and did a brief stint at the Sussex County Sheriff’s Office. For the last three years, he served as chief of the Ellendale Police Department.
Warchol said his favorite part of law enforcement is being actively involved in a community.
“I like the contact with people. I’ve always enjoyed meeting with people and chatting — basically, getting to know them, help them as best I can.”
Coming into a new town, Warchol said, his biggest hurdle will be getting to know the people he’s serving.
“I’m a very community-oriented chief. I like the people in town to know me. I like them to know how to get in touch with me if they have a problem — not just a law-enforcement problem, but anything I can help them with — because I feel if they trust me enough to help them with things that aren’t law-enforcement, then they’re going to trust me with their law-enforcement issues, as well.”
Warchol was hired after former Police Chief William Dudley retired in December, and its remaining officer, Nate Hudson, went to another area department.
“Frankford kind of shut their police department down — they were without one for a couple of months. Anytime you come into a town that has been without law enforcement, even just for a couple of months, there are going to be challenges getting the agency back up and running,” he said.
“There are some issues around in the area, just like anywhere in Sussex County. There are drug issues and things like that that need to be addressed.”
Warchol said his personal goal for the department right now is to fill the vacant position previously held by Hudson.
“I’d like to find a good candidate for that and get them hired,” he said. “It’s a challenge with a two-man department — you only have 80 hours of a full week to schedule people and have them available. I’m hoping I can figure out a way to make us most available for when we’re needed.”
Warchol has already begun his outreach to the town’s residents. His business cards are currently being printed with his personal cell phone on them, which can also be acquired by calling town hall or the police department.
“I want anyone in town who has a need to speak with us.”
Although he has yet to complete his first two weeks of work within the town, Warchol said he’s already actively getting to know Frankford residents.
“I’ve already started. Whenever I see people in town, I stop and visit with them. The few calls for service that we’ve had since I’ve been here, I’ve gotten to meet some of the people,” he said. “Even the other day, off duty, there was a lady having a problem with one of her children, and I stopped in my personal car and introduced myself and helped her out with her situation.”
Warchol said he hopes to hold a Coffee with a Cop event in town, and he hopes to be a chief that the community can reach out to, no matter what.
“Just to make myself available for anyone who wants to come and meet me. Of course, the people in town know that, if they see the car at the [police department], to stop in.”
Three candidates are vying for one seat on Indian River School District’s Board of Education in the May 12 election. Voters in District 4 will choose between incumbent Charles M. Bireley, and challengers Gregory Michael Goldman and Judith Ladd Teoli.
Each term on the board is now five years. The winner will represent District 4, which includes Frankford, west Dagsboro and points east.
Polls open Tuesday from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. District 4 voters can cast ballots at Indian River High School or Lord Baltimore Elementary School.
In District 1 (Georgetown) Miguel A. Pirez-Fabar is challenging incumbents James E. Fritz Jr. and James E. Hudson for two seats. In District 2 (north Millsboro), Shaun Fink was the only candidate to file and will keep his seat.
A qualified voter must be 18 and a resident of the State of Delaware and the school district. Residents may only vote within their IRSD election district.
For information on absentee voting and school district maps, contact Department of Elections for Sussex County at (302) 856-5367 or visit http://electionssc.delaware.gov, click “Info,” then “School Elections.”
In preparation for the election, the Coastal Point has asked District 4 candidates questions about some of the issues. Their responses are listed alphabetically by the candidates’ last name.
Charles M. Bireley
Q. How are you qualified for this position?
A. Have served 38 years on the Indian River School Board. Vice president eight years and president 15 years, including the last 10. Two-year business degree in accounting from Del-Tech in Georgetown.
Q. What do you feel is IRSD’s biggest challenge for the next five years, and how will you address it?
A. Growth is the biggest challenge. We are in the process of adding additional rooms for six different schools. East Millsboro, North Georgetown and Long Neck are getting eight additional class rooms right now. Georgetown Elementary will get eight additional rooms this year, plus a new cafeteria. Philip C. Showell will get four rooms and Selbyville Middle will get two rooms this year.
Q. What else do you personally wish to address? What new initiatives would you like to bring to the table if elected?
A. There is a great need for vocational education in our area. I would like to explore the possibility of adding vocational education to the Indian River School District. All students do not attend college and there is a need for training for students to go into the work field after graduation. With the growing building in our area, carpenters, electricians, masons, HVAC techs, etc., are needed in our area. Indian River has been the leader in other areas; maybe we can deliver this for our students.
Q. Why do you want to be part of IRSD Board of Education?
A. I have enjoyed my tenure on the school board. I still have the desire to serve the district and the students in our area.
Q. What else would you like to tell voters before Election Day?
A. I would like the opportunity to continue to represent the 4th District. I would sincerely appreciate your support on May 12. Voting will take place at Lord Baltimore and Indian River High School from 10 in the morning until 8 in the evening. Thank you very much for your consideration.
Gregory Michael Goldman
Q. How are you qualified for this position?
A. I am a real estate agent with Long & Foster in Bethany Beach. My wife, Jennifer, and I live in Ocean View with our three children. My twin 4-year-old daughters will be enrolling in the IR schools in the fall of 2016, and my son will be enrolling in the fall of 2018. I graduated from Rollins College in Winter Park, Fla. After I graduated from Rollins, I moved to Washington, D.C., and started working for the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science & Transportation. While working there, I assisted in the crafting of the aviation and surface transportation legislation which was in response to the Sept. 11 attacks. In my spare time, I volunteer with your sports teams.
Q. What do you feel is IRSD’s biggest challenge for the next five years, and how will you address it?
A. I believe growth is the top issue. The school board should be more proactive in its approach to adding classrooms and adding additional schools. We need a more proactive approach in managing growth and planning for the future, which will directly affect my children. Let’s not sit back and wait for it to be a problem or put a temporary “Band-Aid” on the issue. Our schools are already exceeding the student-teacher ratios as approved by the State. If this problem does not get addressed properly, the problem will be out of hand very soon.
Q. What else do you personally wish to address? What new initiatives would you like to bring to the table if elected?
A. I have concerns regarding the fact that over 50 percent of our 10th-graders are not meeting the states standards in science. I would help by providing leadership and pushing to allocate necessary funding to the sciences and technology. I believe that a focus on improving these areas is the best way to attract new and higher paying employers to the area.
Delaware has more corporations incorporating within the state than any other state. However, these businesses are not actually employing Delaware residents. I truly believe that if the education system in Delaware was more highly regarded, these businesses would have a reason to stay. Additionally, with the growing amount of high-quality healthcare in our area, I would push for more involvement and mentoring programs in our schools from the professionals providing these services.
Q. Why do you want to be part of IRSD Board of Education?
A. I feel it is important that our school board be comprised of some members with children that will be facing new issues that did not exist five or even two years ago. Currently, neither member representing the 4th District has elementary school-aged children. I have a vested interest in serving our school community and our children, as I have children starting in kindergarten in 2016. Staying current and in touch with the social and academic issues of today is the best way to prepare them for a successful future in the ever-changing and evolving world.
Q. What else would you like to tell voters before Election Day?
A. I think it’s time for change. While I believe we have a wonderful school system, I think it can be better. As a parent, I want the very best for my children, as I am sure other parents want the same.
Judith Ladd Teoli
Q. How are you qualified for this position?
A. I, clearly, have the most education and experience of the candidates running for this District 4 election. I have a B.S. in English education from the University of Delaware, and a M.Ed in educational leadership, also from the University of Delaware. I have an additional 60 credits in education coursework above the master’s degree. I was a teacher for 37 years and a principal for nine years.
When I retired to Sussex County, almost three years ago, after living in Delaware for most of my life, I had a position with Wilmington University as an adjunct faculty member, teaching classes to students who want to be teachers, and as a clinical supervisor to student teachers in Sussex County, many of whom were in the Indian River School District. I have been in most of the schools in IRSD.
Q. What do you feel is IRSD’s biggest challenge for the next five years, and how will you address it?
A. Probably the biggest challenge in the school district is the proposed growth in this area. However, I believe that the school district knows the data and has already made plans for the growth. I would certainly love to be a part of that.
Q. What else do you personally wish to address? What new initiatives would you like to bring to the table if elected?
A. I wish to address the AP courses in the two high schools, and perhaps raise the number of courses, and certainly would like to raise the number of students passing the AP tests. Also, Sussex Central is an IB (International Baccalaureate) school, and I am curious as to why the Indian River High School is not. I would like to enhance the Gifted & Talented program in both the elementary and middle schools, without pulling students out of the classroom.
The solution, of course, is differentiated instruction, and I would like to see what strategies are being implemented in this regard. I would like a reasonable explanation for why the school board waived a state code law about the size of classrooms in the district. Also, there is only one school in the IRSD that did not make AYP — average yearly progress. I am interested in knowing what the school administration and faculty are doing to change that.
Q. Why do you want to be part of IRSD Board of Education?
A. I hope it is obvious to all readers that I have a sincere interest in education. Education has been my life, and I have always loved my career and the people with whom I came into contact during the 45 years I spent in educational pursuits. I would use my experience, knowledge and talents to further the job that has been done in the district.
Q. What else would you like to tell voters before Election Day?
A. Voters, please consider a change to the school board. I have a lot of respect for Mr. Bierely, who has been on the school board for 38 years. Could it be time for a change?
Delaware State Parks Director Ray Bivens announced Tuesday that recreational surf-fishing management changes that include parking restrictions were going into effect immediately for all state surf-fishing beaches.
Vehicles bearing surf-fishing permits (meaning their occupants must be actively engaged in recreational surf fishing) will now be required to park in single-file, with a ban on vehicle stacking that officials said enables better enforcement of the actively-engaged rule and also addresses safety concerns for beachgoers and park staff.
Bivens cited Delaware code and DNREC Division of Parks & Recreation regulations that authorize his office to limit or close public use areas — authority that applies to both land and water — when such action is necessary for proper management and stewardship of the resource, in this case the state’s surf-fishing beaches.
Bivens noted that the number of surf-fishing vehicle permits issued by DNREC rose 30 percent over the last five years — from 11,380 in 2011 to a projected 15,000 for the current year.
“Over the past several years, the Division of Parks & Recreation has seen a steady increase in the demand for surf-fishing vehicle permits,” he said. “With the increase in permits issued have come a higher number of park visitors not following the rules associated with recreational surf-fishing. This change will allow for stronger enforcement of the actively-engaged surf-fishing rule and also make our beaches safer for park visitors.”
Various user groups, the Delaware Mobile Surf Fishermen chief among them, have voiced growing concern that the enforcement of surf-fishing vehicle permit regulations must be paramount to any other activities on the state’s surf-fishing beaches, officials noted.
“Our board membership fully supports this policy change,” said Bruce West, president of the Delaware Mobile Surf Fishermen, “and we applaud DNREC, Director Bivens and Parks Enforcement staff for listening to the concerns of the sport-fishing community. We also know that this problem did not happen overnight and will not be fixed overnight, either.”
Acknowledging the surf-fishermen’s concern and also citing a safety issue as vehicles congregate and stack, Chief Wayne Kline of Delaware State Parks Enforcement said that rectifying the parking problem on the beaches is a priority.
“While Delaware State Park beaches are a great place to engage in fishing and other recreational activities, parking two-, three- and four-deep on the surf-fishing beaches presents Parks’ enforcement staff with a number of challenges,” Kline said.
The decision to limit surf-fishing permit-bearing vehicles to single-row parking came after what officials described as “careful analysis” by DNREC and the Division of Parks & Recreation.
Surf-fishing-permitted vehicles are now required to park within designated surf-fishing vehicle beaches in single-file from the toe of the dune to the high tide line. Kline said the new restriction will be strictly enforced, and that vehicles parked on the beaches must also be in compliance with other Delaware State Parks’ surf-fishing regulations — reiterating that vehicle occupants must be actively engaged in surf fishing.
Bivens’ restrictions also stipulate that vehicle parking will be accommodated “on a first-come, first-served basis, and space may not be reserved for others who may be coming later in any given day. We thank the surf-fishing public and our park visitors for observing these restrictions and helping protect our precious beaches within Delaware State Parks.”
Veterans and their families gathered at VFW Post 7234 this past weekend for a bittersweet event — to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Vietnam War.
The ceremony, whose theme was “Welcome Home” honored veterans, their families and spouses for their sacrifice.
“This is your day. This is your time. This is your commemoration,” said Fulton Loppatto, VFW Post 7234 commander. “For the families, this is your time to stand proud for the sacrifice you endured for your loved one.”
During the ceremony, the names of 166 Delawareans who lost their lives in the war were read aloud and a bell rung in their honor.
Among those in attendance were Adjunct General of the Delaware National Guard Maj. Gen. Frank Vavala, former state senator and retired Marine George Bunting, Sussex County Councilmen George Cole and Rob Arlett, and state Rep. Rich Collins.
State Rep. Ron Gray and state Sen. Gerald Hocker presented tributes from the House and Senate, respectively.
“Welcome home, veterans,” said Hocker. “That should be every day.”
Hocker shared that there were more than 47,000 U.S. soldiers killed during the Vietnam War, with 150,000 wounded and 10,000 still missing.
“Freedom comes at no cheap price,” he said.
John Mitchell, VFW Department of Delaware commander — a combat veteran who served in Vietnam — said returning home after his service overseas was difficult.
“You don’t know what I saw there, what I did. You don’t want to know that part,” he said. “It was very hard to come home to a country that didn’t welcome you. It was hard to come home to a country that didn’t appreciate what you had done.
“We were spit on. We were labeled as baby-killers. We were not welcomed with open arms by the people in our community.”
Mitchell said the commemoration has been a long time coming, and that he was thankful the Vietnam veterans were finally being recognized for their service.
“I’ve had to live with this for 46-and-a-half years,” he said. “I am relieved today. It is finally time. I want to say to everyone who has served in Vietnam, ‘Welcome home.’
Keynote speaker U.S. Sen. Tom Carper himself gave five years of service as a Navy flight officer. He served three tours of duty in Southeast Asia during the Vietnam War, and continued to serve in the Naval Reserve as a P-3 aircraft mission commander until retiring with the rank of captain in 1991, after 23 years of military service.
At the commemoration, Carper thanked all those who have served in the military and said he was grateful that Vietnam veterans were finally being recognized for their service and sacrifice.
“When people say, ‘Welcome home,’ I feel it. I feel it’s sincere.”The commemorative event was one of 10 such events held in Delaware, and one of 2,000 occurring across the United States.
Dickens Parlour Theatre on June 3-6 will celebrate its fifth anniversary and kick off a fundraising drive with a four-night, five-performance offering of David Mamet’s play “Oleanna,” starring actor Harry Anderson.
After five years of magic and illusion; classical and cabaret music offerings; theatrical renderings by its resident theater company, the Bethany Area Repertory Theatre (BART); lectures; and its Victorian Parlour, Dickens is also kicking off its first annual fundraising drive, seeking the community’s support for expanding its scholarship and internship programs and enhancing the scope of its theatrical offerings.
Veteran stage and television actor Anderson will be featured in the play; and following each performance, Dickets will be hosting a VIP reception in the Parlour, including champagne and hors d’ oeuvres and featuring a question-and-answer session and discussion of the Mamet work by Anderson and his co-star, Liberty Larsen.
Tickets for the event are on sale now, at $100 for the show and VIP reception or $65 for the show only, with performances June 3-6 at 7 p.m. and a 1 p.m. matinee on June 6. For more information or to purchase tickets, visit dptmagic.com or call (302) 829-1071
The Friends of the Millsboro Library are gearing up for their annual book sale. The 2015 sale will take place on Friday and Saturday, July 17-18, with a preview night for members on Thursday, July 16.
“Each year, this sale has been extremely successful because of the thousands of books the public has given us,” organizers noted. “We are currently asking for donations of gently used books. In the past, our community has answered our call for fiction and nonfiction for adults and children.”
They are accepting hardback and paperback books on any topic; however, they cannot accept textbooks, encyclopedias, magazines and Readers Digest Condensed Books. Donations will be accepted until July 4.
Donations should be dropped off at the library on State Street during regular library hours. The library is open on Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., on Tuesday and Thursday from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m., and on Saturday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
More information will be available as the sale date gets closer.
For information, contact Sandy Stevens at (302) 934-8865 or Jan Thompson at (302) 732-3216.
David Luna, Tyler Greene and Veronica Villegas are promoting unity, art, live music and healthy eating and living at a festival at Bedford Park in Georgetown on May 23 from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. The festival is free, open to the public and especially welcomes families.
The three friends and their cohorts are local young people who are connected by Sussex Central High School, as well as their creativity, artistry, sense of community and passion for being positive in a world that tends to focus on the cynical and mundane. They are all active supporters of the Shauna Rose Kaufman Foundation, which is hosting the event.
Luna is a visual artist whose work includes graphic design, comics and video. He also has a regular column in The Annual magazine, in which he interviews nationally known comedians. He was a classmate of Shauna Kaufman at the time of her death in a car accident in June 2009.
“It was devastating for everyone who knew her,” said Luna. “But by working with the foundation and helping make a difference here, in Ecuador and in Nepal, I can see that some good has resulted.”
The idea for the festival came three months ago, long before the devastating earthquake in Nepal. One of the primary beneficiaries of the foundation is the funding of an art program at a school in the suburbs of Kathmandu. This school, called Samata, subsequently became a sister school for fourth-grade art classes at Lord Baltimore Elementary School in Ocean View.
By coincidence, Shauna Kaufman’s mother, Amy, and sister, Holly, were not far away, in India, when the earthquake shattered Nepal. They have since traveled there and been working tirelessly to obtain and distribute rice, tents, medicine, and, yes, paper and crayons — all this from donations to the tax-deductible Shauna Rose Kaufman Foundation.
“Initially, we looked at the festival as a way to bring Sussex County residents together to share our art and music, learn about good nutrition and local farms, have fun activities like Zumba, a moon bounce, face painting and contests with prizes,” said Luna. “But, since the earthquake, we also want to share as much information as possible about what is going on in Nepal.”
Ian Kaufman, Shauna Kaufman’s dad, said, “David is a remarkable young man. He has a way of surrounding himself with talented people and is always getting involved in doing good things.”
Tyler Greene is responsible for organizing the music for the festival. Greene, a guitarist and singer-songwriter, is becoming well known in the area as plays with bands The Dug and Plot Twist and also performs solo at many local restaurants and music venues. The Sly Foxes, a Westchester, Pa., band, will be playing, too.
Veronica Villegas is an artist, a student and a mom. She said it was the birth of her son Julien that inspired her to become knowledgeable about healthy foods and eating well. She has arranged five different informational tables at the festival where families can learn more about how eating nutritional food can be fun, as well as good for the body and mind.
“Julien is 6 now, and he experiments with me to find the best-tasting smoothies,” Villegas said. “So far, his favorite is a blend of banana, spinach and almond milk!”
Villegas advocates home gardens, so you know exactly what you are eating with no danger of additives. Local gardening enthusiasts Itzel Aguilar and Edgar Lopez will be on hand to talk about how to get started with your own home garden.
The organizers have called the festival the Art of March for Change. To symbolize the importance of environmental awareness, a tree will be planted and then, at 2 p.m., festivalgoers will have the opportunity to celebrate the day of unity and positivity by walking the short distance from Bedford Park to the Georgetown Circle. Bedford Park is located just behind the Georgetown Presbyterian Church on N. Bedford Street.
Organizers said they are thankful for support from La Esperanza, HOY en Delaware, Food & Water Watch of Delaware, Delaware Hispano Magazine, Dr. Deb Laino, Flex World Fitness, Good Earth Market & Organic Farm, Funland Rehoboth Beach, Georgetown Presbyterian, Wesley United Methodist Church, TGIF and Harris Teeter.
To make a donation to help relief efforts in Nepal, go to www.shaunarosekaufmanfoundation.com.
Although he had to take a break from athletics, Charles Wayne still wanted his Eagle Scout project to help Indian River High School. So the Eagle candidate built three portable equipment boxes for the IRHS Athletic Department.
To reach the prestigious rank of Eagle Scout, Boy Scouts plan their own community service project, and as an IR senior and equipment manager for football, Wayne knew the team “didn’t really have an equipment box.” With that in mind, he also approached the other sports teams: “Hey, would you like one, as well?’”
In the end, lacrosse, soccer and football said yes.
“This is your equipment box,” Wayne told soccer coach Steve Kilby on April 23. “The idea behind it is to outfit a whole player.”
The 4-by-1.5-foot wooden cart is 2 feet deep, with two compartments. The larger is wide open, while the smaller latches shut. With wheels at one end and a handle on the other, the cart only needs one person to tote it, like a wheelbarrow. Or it can stand up, like a closet.
As an added touch, the carts are painted green and gold.
The coaches praised the carts, already planning what could go inside: balls, water bottles, a special rack to hold lacrosse sticks.
“It was a lot of work to do, but it was worth it,” Wayne said.
For the construction of the boxes, 20 to 25 people total donated 111 man-hours over three days. That doesn’t include the design process or the fundraising.
Wayne’s parents stood by proudly, watching their son demonstrate the equipment box features.
“I’m just proud of him,” said Chuck Wayne. “I think Scouts has been great for him, because we have had zero problems with [discipline].”
Wayne thanked his father, his fellow scouts in Troop 382, Wilkins Custom Builders, Eddie Shockley, Bill Shockley, Teressa Disharoon of Dagsboro Paint& Wallpaper and Lowe’s Millsboro store manager Yvette Schreiber. (“This wouldn’t have been able to happen without her,” Wayne said of Disharoon).
“Just think how much time and energy this is going to save,” said Principal Bennett Murray. “We appreciate you and the Boy Scouts and what you’ve done.”
“It says a lot about the students we have here at Indian River,” Kilby said.
Lacrosse coach Jerry Sheridan said he was impressed with Wayne’s dedication to scouts and the school.
“You don’t see that a lot in young kids today,” he said.
Wayne had played some football, wrestling and track-and-field. But when his sports injuries (multiple concussions, plus post-concussive syndrome) pulled him off the field, he threw his energy into the newly-formed Boy Scout Troop 382.
He was named senior patrol leader in his first year.
“I think it turned out really well,” Wayne now says.
With the deadline of his 18th birthday approaching, he hoped to finish the official Eagle application quickly.
What should other scouts know about striving for rank of Eagle?
“It’s definitely worth it, in every essence of the word. Boy Scouts is the best thing in [my life],” said Wayne, who became a leader and a team player. “This is 13 years in the making, and every step of the way was great.”
Business is the name of the game for Indian River High School’s BPA, which racked up another year of awards at the state competition this spring.
Business Professionals of America introduces students to the real world of business, and IRHS students emerged triumphant from the spring competition at Dover Downs, where hundreds of students showed their business prowess in research, administration, finance, communication, marketing and more.
With their months of hard work, IRHS students earned a chance to represent the First State at the BPA National Leadership Conference. On May 10, the finalists returned from the five-day event in Anaheim, Calif.
“It’s a really neat experience. I’m excited for everyone to go,” Hannah Davis said beforehand, having attended in 2014. “Everyone’s arriving on the same day. You’re already kind of scouting your competition.”
That mirrors a real-world business conference, advisor Jeff Bunting said.
“Not only are they there to compete, they’re there to learn in numerous seminars, workshops, networking opportunities and general informal schmoozing.”
To earn a spot at nationals, 10 IR students medaled in eight state events: Zoe Richard and Hannah Davis (first place, Economic Research Team), Lauren Lynch (first, Entrepreneurship with $1,000 scholarship), Keaton Burke Avery McCormick and Griffin McCormick (second, Video Production Team), David Chan (second, Banking & Finance), Kennedy Butch (second, Interview Skills), Hannah Davis (second, Prepared Speech), Gabriella Castillo (third, Prepared Speech) and Helen Davis (third, Presentation Management).
Some students were submitting papers beforehand, but many competed in the moment with PowerPoint presentations, speeches or interviews with judges.
Competitors were only allowed to carry an outline for the Prepared Speech competition, but they also wrote an essay beforehand. Hannah Davis’s topic was how to be a successful entrepreneur.
“I talked about different aspects of successful entrepreneurs that we know of,” such as Walt Disney and Donald Trump, she said.
Castillo focused on the importance of good employee recruitment.
“It’s really essential to hire the right people for success in a business,” she said, and any type of recruitment that is poor can lead to company failure.
Burke, Avery McCormick and Griffin McCormick did some marketing for the National School Lunch Program in Video Production.
Although the lunch program has gotten some flak in recent years, the boys studied its original intent, to help students “especially for those who couldn’t afford lunch or those who couldn’t get the nutritional value at home,” Avery McCormick said.
Besides interacting with fellow students, they had interviewed a nurse, a nutritionist and an exercise science major from the University of Delaware.
After presenting a five-minute video, they discussed their processes and video skills with the judges.
Economic Research team Richard and Hannah Davis wrote and presented a five-page paper on the current state of Social Security: where it stands, why it was created and how it could run more smoothly.
“One of the ideas was to encourage people to save on their own, obviously, and then another topic was changing the formula we use to decide who gets what out of Social Security funds,” said Hannah Davis, “but also raising it at a different rate throughout the years so people aren’t as hurt by tax increases.”
Helen Davis was one of many students studying wellness plans for the Presentation Management competition.
“I learned that there are so many easy and simple ways to implement a health and wellness plan into your business and that it has lots of benefits to it,” she said. For example, she said, a smoking cessation program “improves behavior, improves attendance of employees and tempers.”
Employers could also replace vending machine snacks with healthy alternatives.
“What they do in their lives will affect the business,” Helen Davis concluded after researching current business plans and consulting with her mother — a nurse practitioner.
For Entrepreneurship, Lauren Lynch created a whole new business, a tall order for a high school student. She designed a full-blown business plan, from financials to rent payments, for the fictional “Sweet Retreat” candy store.
Other events tested the students’ mastery of certain subjects. Chan prepped for Banking & Finance for several months, reading textbooks and taking practice tests.
For Interview Skills, Kennedy Butch had to create a résumé and cover letter to apply for an administrative assistant position. At 14, she had to get creative, replacing traditional job experience with her time shadowing other professionals.
“You didn’t really know what they were going to ask you. You had to have an open mind. You had to be familiar with everything you put in your résumé and cover letter,” Butch said. “And you had to be willing to answer the questions in a very mature way. I mean, look at the high school. It’s very hard for some people to get up and talk to adults, especially the way people in interviews [have to].”
That’s a theme repeated in many events, as judges interview students.
“I felt I grew as a speaker and as a person by participating in this event, just as I’m sure everyone here did,” Butch said.
That’s one of the basic business skills, “being able to communicate your thoughts and ideas in front of people. All of us do have to talk in front of judges,” Hannah Davis said.
“Answer questions and think on the spot,” Richard said.
Community members also gave their time to the students, providing early feedback before students entered competition.
“We were very prepared,” said Avery McCormick. “They gave us a lot of good feedback, so when we actually got to the competition, it felt a lot less stressful and a lot more relaxed.”
That helped the students, including Burke, who thought the one-on-one judging would be a lot scarier.
Learning skills and having fun
Besides competing, high-schoolers spend the rest of the time networking, campaigning or learning more about the business world.
In a business etiquette workshop, they learned proper handshakes, introductions, dinner utensils and more.
“It was a lot of fun. We were with people we enjoyed being with, and we were doing things we enjoyed doing. The event in general was really happy and fun,” Butch said. “It was fun. I didn’t think it would be.”
“These kids are the best in the state, but every single one we took did an exceptional job,” said Bunting, calling them “true future business leaders.”
They all take business courses with advisors Stephanie Wilkinson and Jeff Bunting, who encourage students to join the team if they see a spark of potential. The students agreed that they have “awesome advisors.”
About 23 students competed, of about 40 in the club overall.
“It was a great team to take,” said Bunting, estimating that IR placed in the top 10 in all of the prepared events.
The students also brought home seven prestigious Torch Awards for leadership and service over their high school career.
Statesman status (the highest honor at the state level) was awarded to Hannah Davis, Avery McCormick and Charles Wayne. Diplomat status was awarded to David Clark, Lauren Lynch, Elizabeth Quijano and Fred West.
Bunting also lauded the upperclassmen who have grown, in turn helping BPA and other students to grow, too. They prepared during late nights and weekends, often pausing from other honors classes, athletics and extracurricular.
People can peek behind the scenes and pick up safety tips at the Bethany Beach Volunteer Fire Company on EMS Day 2015.
The “EMS Strong” open house is set for Saturday, May 16, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., at the fire hall. The free, educational, community-wide event is open to the public.
Exhibitors include area EMS units, area hospitals, local police and the Delaware State Fire School. Emergency helicopters fly into town for the day, between Garfield Parkway and the Christian Church Conference Center. Pilots will give close-up views and tours of the choppers.
Children will be able to climb around emergency vehicles at this family-friendly event, and there will be bicycle and highway safety instructions, a 911 simulator and other demonstrations. People can also meet the emergency responders who help protect the community.
“Most of the interaction we have with people is when they’re calling for help, and we don’t have time to socialize or really talk to people,” EMS Chief Douglas Scott told the newspaper about a prior event. “We find it a great opportunity to open the doors and let people come in and see what we do.
Bethany Blues barbecue, balloons and special EMS Day T-shirts will be available to all visitors.
The Bethany Beach Volunteer Fire Company is located at the corner of Route 1 and Hollywood Street. For more information, contact (302) 539-7700 or visit www.bethanybeachfire.com.
Selbyville’s Railroad Avenue is at the first stage of collapse where it crosses the Sandy Branch tax ditch. Town Manager Bob Dickerson reported that a small hole had formed where the road fell in. The weakness was discovered, and the road closed on Saturday, May 2.
“That’s corrugated pipe under that road, and about a quarter-way up the side of it, it has eroded. It rusted out,” Dickerson told the Coastal Point. “When we have [heavy] rain, high water comes up there, it gets into that crack. It’s like a zipper effect. It keeps eroding.”
Then soil falls out, and the road sinks.
The two-lane road runs parallel to the railroad track, squeezed between it and the Mountaire processing plant.
Sandy Branch flows through town, east to west, but runs through a wide culvert under Mountaire and the Southern Delaware School of the Arts. It flows in two pipes under Railroad Avenue and three steel pipes under the railroad itself, Dickerson said.
The Town called Delaware Department of Transportation to request signage for the closure, though it’s a Town-owned road. The road is partially closed and blocked off with cones and a barricade.
Currently, the small hole is filled with gravel.
“It’s eroded a lot more than it appears,” said Dickerson, after work crews attempted to fill the hole with two “loads of stone” that just kept going.
Work on a temporary solution was to begin Tuesday, May 12.
“[They’re] going to sandbag the inside of that pipe where it’s eroded. The highway engineer said it’s done in a lot of cases,” Dickerson said.
Later in the week, crews are expected to cut open the blacktop, pour in concrete to seal the hole, and then cover and repave the road.
Sandbags will hold the waterway open until the concrete sets, but they don’t seriously impede the water, which Dickerson said is usually only a few inches high in the pipe. And it’s only a temporary fix for a larger problem.
“It’s not a quick fix,” he warned the town council on May 4.
“It’s definitely a problem we’ve got to get fixed, more than a temporary patch,” said Councilman Jay Murray.
“We don’t have the funds lying around to do that,” said Mayor Clifton Murray.
“That’s a half-million-dollar project,” said Dickerson, referencing a 2008 estimate for repairs under the road and railroad.
Selbyville could pay $52,000 in engineering costs alone, besides actual repairs. The Town is inquiring with DNREC for possible state funding on the engineering.
Selbyville is just beginning what could be a long process to even see what specifically happened to the pipe. Dickerson suggested there is a hole in the top of the pipe, but even a patch would only be temporary.
Because the railroad track may also be weakened where it crosses Sandy Branch, Dickerson will coordinate with the railroad company, tax ditch association and other agencies. “A lot of people” have to get involved, he said.
“Our main thing is to get that road open, because it’s got a lot of traffic on that road,” Dickerson said of the nearby Mountaire parking lot. “At shift change, you’ve got a real mess.”
Meanwhile, the Town is also dealing with issues at its wastewater treatment plant involving its lime silo. Part of the treatment process is to reduce acidity by adding lime. But water got in and “fried” some of the equipment, said Erik Retzlaff, town engineer.
Now, workers need to get that alkalinity back to the water, but until full maintenance of the lime silo is completed, they’re having trouble keeping the “bugs” — bacteria that are part of the treatment process — alive.
“Right now, everything’s in compliance. It’s just a struggle,” Retzlaff said.
In other Selbyville news:
• Flushing of water pipes continues around Hudson Road and Route 17 as part of efforts to prevent stagnation, Councilman Rick Duncan reported.
His own tap water was muddy recently, he said, due to a utility line being hit. Some of Selbyville’s water pipes are so old that there’s no record of where they were originally laid. Many clusters are still buried in undetermined locations, which is tricky when other utility companies need to dig.
“We tried to find them years ago. They found them for us,” Duncan quipped.
Town Well C is out of commission until it gets a new pump, Dickerson also reported. It was shorting out because the water’s high acidity caused deterioration. Maintenance was expected this week.
• Selbyville is using a $10,000 grant from Sussex County to repair and replace Polly Branch Road water lines.
State Rep. Rich Collins has also allocated $5,000 for a drainage project at McCabe Street and Ellis Alley, which frequently flood. Selbyville will chip in $600.
• The League of Women Voters of Sussex County recently toured local water systems, including Selbyville’s water and wastewater plants. Dickerson said the treatment plants seem basic because Town employees do the work every day, but when seen through the eye of a layperson, it’s an impressive process.
• The council approved a resolution regarding Lighthouse Lakes, which approves the planned community’s formation documents for a property owners’ association.
The developer must submit that approval to the Office of the Recorder of Deeds before Selbyville can issue building permits, Dickerson said.
Councilman Jay Murray abstained from the vote.
• The First State Work Camp will return to Sussex County in late June, said Marjorie Orendorf of Mariner’s Bethel United Methodist Church.
“This is an opportunity we’re hoping all the towns can take part in,” she said.
About 500 people from around the country will come to the area for an “intensive, one-week experience to help people grow in faith through service.”
Small teams repair homes, usually with at least five teenagers and one adult per team.
“We still need some work sites. We know we can handle at least 80 to 90 work sites that week,” Orendorf said.
The work they perform includes porch repairs, wheelchair ramp construction, painting, mobile-home skirting, landscaping and more.
The program is free for local homeowners, including materials, although people can provide materials if they’d like.
“Last time, we didn’t have enough houses in southeast Sussex County,” Orendorf said. The teams are happy to travel to Long Neck or farther, but “certainly there ought to be enough projects in these seven or eight towns.”
For more information or to apply to have a project done, contact Christina Wilson at Mariner’s Bethel at (302) 539-9510.
• The Selbyville Police Department received a Click It or Ticket grant for extra patrols this month.
If anyone has concerns with speeding through town, they can call the police department, which will consider moving the speed notification sign and cart there.
• Ball fields are available for public use on Park Street. Contact Town Hall to fill out a permit.
• Old Timers Day is scheduled for June 20, with the poker run on June 19. Organized by the Bethany-Fenwick Area Chamber of Commerce, the festival will now charge a $10 entry fee for classic cars, but much of the festival will remain the same.
• Strawberry Center will host a paper-shredding event Friday, May 8, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Dickerson said people can now take advantage of the presence of on-site vendors for food, ice cream and more. He marveled at the efficiency of the shredders, which are used to destroy sensitive documents, such as old bank statements and more.
“It’s gone in an instant. Don’t be shy about bringing boxes,” he said.
The next regular Selbyville Town Council meeting is Monday, June 1, at 7 p.m.
The Beta Sigma Phi sorority will host its 6th Annual Cornhole Tournament, benefitting the Russell White Scholarship Foundation, next month in Millville.
“We do it to keep Russell’s memory alive,” said Emily Harne, a member of Beta Sigma Phi, “and to give back to the community.”
White was a 2002 Indian River High School graduate who had been deployed to Afghanistan in 2004, when he passed away at 19. The foundation created in his name awards scholarships to graduating IRHS seniors.
“This year we’re giving five $1,000 scholarships to IR seniors,” said Harne, noting the money given out this year comes from funds raised at last summer’s tournament.
Harne said that in 2014 the sorority gave two $2,500 scholarships to graduating seniors.
“This year, we wanted to impact more kids.”
The tournament will be held on Saturday, June 6, at the Millville fire hall. Registration for the event begins at 11 a.m., with the opening ceremony starting at 11:45 a.m. The first bag will be tossed at noon.
Each team of two can register for $50, which includes a T-shirt for each player. Harne said that space is limited and preregistration is strongly recommended. Those who wish to receive their desired T-shirt size must register by this Sunday, May 17.
Harne said that, this year, the tournament is different from previous years, with two brackets — a social bracket and a competitive bracket. Each team will be guaranteed five games. First- and second-place winners will receive cash prizes.
“This is a little different. We had always done a double-elimination single tournament. We found there are a lot of people who want to come out, enjoy the day and have a good time that aren’t necessarily amazing cornhole players. You’ll play three games to determine if you are in the competitive or social bracket. Then it’s double-elimination.”
During the event, there will be a live auction, beginning around 1:30 p.m., and a silent auction, closing around 3 p.m.
“We’re very lucky that the local business owners show their support, for silent auction items and donations to the cause. It allows us to put on a pretty fun event, and we’re able to raise a good amount of money for the high school seniors.
“We have some great live auction items — one is a week at a beach house in the Outer Banks. Bethany Bike Shop always hooks us up with a great beach-cruiser bicycle. Then a lot of the local restaurants and shops give us items and gift cards toward our silent auction. We have some handmade cornhole boards that will be up for auction, as well. We have a lot of great stuff.”
Those who want to attend and just watch the fun can do so at no charge. Charlie K’s BBQ will be on hand to sell barbecue and other refreshments. The tournament is a BYOB event.
Beta Sigma Phi currently has approximately 14 members. Those who are interested in joining the sorority are welcome to ask any of the members for information.
“We’re always looking to recruit new members. We have a great core of ladies who grew up around here. We get together once a month and do little things to give back,” said Harne. “It’s like a sisterhood. We get together and enjoy each other’s company.”
Harne said she loves the group of women in Beta Sigma Phi, and that she and her sister, Sarah, became members after attending a previous cornhole tournament.
“Sarah and I went to one of their first cornhole tournaments. We just liked the fun atmosphere of a fun day of the community getting together for a good cause,” she said. “We went and talked to some of the girls, and they invited us to go to some of their meetings. That’s how we got involved with the sorority.”
Those who wish to enjoy a day of fun, while supporting local students, are being encouraged to attend the event and enjoy camaraderie while tossing a bag or two.
“We really enjoy doing it. The White family has a great time, and they’re always a big support to us. We like to do something to keep Russell’s memory alive and do something for the community,” she said. “We love being able to do something that gives back. And the day is such a great day. Everybody has a lot of fun.”
To register for the tournament, or become a sponsor, call or text Sarah at (302) 363-7311.
Editor’s Note: In the interests of full disclosure, Harne is the daughter of Coastal Point Publisher Susan Lyons.
As she makes her way up the stairs of John M. Clayton School near Frankford — stopping every so often for an enthusiastic hug hello, careful not to miss one and unable to even if she might have — it doesn’t take long to tell that counselor Jan Bombhardt is... well, kind of “the bomb.”
That notion was made official on March 27, when Bombhardt was named the 2015 Elementary School Counselor of the Year for the state of Delaware and garnered some well-deserved recognition in the process.
“We knew she was going to be so excited,” said John M. Clayton Principal Charlynne Hopkins, who got the news a week before it was officially announced at a counselor’s luncheon in Dover. “So deserving. She’s part of our heartbeat every day. [We] couldn’t do it without her.”
While her colleagues were somehow able to keep the booming news a secret, Bombhardt still had her suspicions when both Hopkins and Vice Principal Allisa Booth accompanied her to the luncheon.
“Char and Allisa came with me, and I was thinking ‘OK — why are they joining me for lunch?’” Bombhardt recalled. “That’s when I thought, ‘Well, this might actually be for real.’”
With the building anticipation, the excitement roared when her name was called and she took the stage to receive the award and make a speech in front of a room full of counselors, colleagues and representatives from schools and universities from across the state.
And the good news traveled fast.
After she informed her husband, Eric, and her kids, Eliza and Garrett, the word was officially out.
“So I’m calling my dad and everybody else, and they’re like, ‘We already know. Eric told us,’” she explained of her husband’s excitement after hearing the news. “He had a good time with it. He rolled with.”
Even former students and friends of her kids, most of whom call her “Mom No. 2,” were reaching out to celebrate the good news — calling, sending texts, offering heartfelt congratulations and letting her know of their beaming pride.
“I was so excited for her,” said Bombhardt’s daughter Eliza, a junior and standout softball player at Indian River High School. “She always talks about how much she loves the kids... and they all love her. She really loves her job.”
The overwhelming support was humbling, appreciated and, in some cases, even brought her to tears, but Bombhardt said she’s rewarded every school day when she shows up to do the thing that she’s always known that she wanted to do — help people.
“I knew all along, from the time that I was in ninth grade, that I wanted to teach special education,” she explained.
Even after a minor setback during college — when her original goal of becoming an education interpreter for the deaf was derailed by her already animated hand usage when expressing herself — Bombhardt maintained her larger vision.
“I wasn’t good enough with my hands,” she explained. “My own hand signs got in the way of American sign language and actual signs, but I knew I wanted to get into special education, somehow, someway.”
That dream finally became a reality when she landed her first job, at Seaford Middle School, upon graduating from Bloomsburg University — commuting from Bethany Beach every day for nearly 10 years until she earned her master’s degree from Wilmington College in 2001, and starting at the John M. Clayton School that August.
After teaching fifth grade in the morning and counseling in the afternoon, she made the move to full-time counseling in 2011 and ever since has been spending her days helping parents, students and families from the second they pull up in the carpool line in the morning until they leave for the day —and sometimes even after that.
“The favorite part of my job is when things all come together for a child,” Bombhardt said. “When we’re meeting their needs personally, socially and academically, and making sure the family’s got everything they need — when that comes together, that’s my favorite part... and the 600 hugs a day.”
Ensuring that those needs are met day in and day out is ultimately a team effort at John M. Clayton Elementary School.
“Our teachers are tremendous. They’re the best I think I’ve ever worked with, honestly,” Bombhardt noted. “They’re the first ones to notice what’s going on and what needs to be done. It takes all of us to get it together.”
While Bombhardt and the rest of the John M. Clayton School are enjoying the statewide recognition — highlighted by a tribute to the accomplishment on the marquee of their new sign in front of the school and headlined by a celebration at Bayside for the staff on June 11 — ultimately, the goal is to take home the national award for Elementary Counselor of the Year when her portfolio, video submission and 3,000-word essay is reviewed this August.
And, considering the flood of hundreds of nominations received when the statewide competition was opened up, it’s safe to say that the hopes are high.
“She’s just as great of a mom as she is a counselor,” Eliza Bombhardt said of her mother’s chances at the national level. “She deserves it. She’s the best person I know, honestly.”
“There’s no one else that’s more passionate about her job,” added Bombhardt’s husband, Eric. “She’s incredible, she really is. I look up to her a lot because of what she gives to her job every day. I’m so proud of her.”
Whatever happens with the national competition, Bombhardt knows that she’s right where she wants to be. She’ll continue to get to school early for drop-offs, eat lunch with the kids who depend on her, ask them about their day and advocate for them in any way that she can, even long after they move on.
And when she’s greeted with a hug before she can even get in the door, or looks above her desk at the countless heartfelt thank-you notes, drawings and collages of appreciation from the kids that she’s helped along the way, she’ll always know why.
“This is home. These are my kids,” she said. “I don’t want to be anywhere else. I’m not sure I’ll retire in six years when I can, either. This is where my heart continued to stay.”
This week, the Sussex County Council was presented with a proposed budget for the fiscal year 2016, at $128.6 million.
As it stands, there is no change in the County property tax rate or general fund fees in the proposed budget.
“That makes 26 years in a row that the County will not raise property taxes,” said Todd Lawson, county administrator.
For every tax dollar, 54 cents is spent on public safety; 15 cents is spent on libraries; 10 cents on code enforcement, Planning & Zoning, permitting and addressing; 9 cents on general government; 8 cents on special services; and 4 cents on housing rehabilitation and community support.
Lawson said working with department heads to pinpoint each department’s priorities was beneficial.
“This year, we did it a little differently… We asked department directors to come in with their recommendations to us and keep their requests to the 2 percent maximum growth,” he said. “It made this year’s drafting of budget a little more seamless for us, because the directors were able to tell us from beginning what their priorities were.”
As healthcare costs continue to increase, the County projects increasing costs by 7.7 percent over last year, for a total of $8.1 million cost for its 500 employees.
“Healthcare is driving some of our significant costs. We are predicting a $583,000 increase over last year,” he said. “Like many municipalities, we are facing those increased costs and having to determine what to do about it.”
Lawson said that, since 2009, the County has reduced its workforce by 10 percent (53 positions) through attrition or retirement. Although five new full-time employees are proposed in the coming fiscal year, the net increase is just two employees.
Within the proposed budget is the purchase of Computer Assisted Mass Appraisal or CAMA Assessment Software as a capital project.
“Currently, our assessment office does everything by hand and by paper. Literally, they will go out and visit a property and draw on paper a sketch of the property. That sketch comes back to the office and a staff person inside this building will draw a final draft of the property and then utilize those measurements to assess the property, which then runs through our famous formula to create our tax property amount.”
Lawson said that, currently, the only automated part of the process is when a property’s tax bill is printed.
“This CAMA system will do that entire process with enhanced technology. The assessor on the street will have a tablet where there are directions to the property. There is a Google map that shows the workflow for the day; there’s a parcel ID and property information contained. Then there’s an actual draft of the property…
“The assessor on street does work, pushes ‘submit,’ and that information is shot back to this building and put into our computer system. It takes the manual element out of the way they work now.”
Lawson said the CAMA software will also backup more than 160,000 paper parcel cards stored in the County building.
“Those have no backup,” he said. “This CAMA purchase will take the entire paper record and put onto computer record system. It’s a multi-year venture. We’re very, very excited about it.”
In the proposed budget, the general fund is up by $1,505,000 or 2.9 percent, for a total of $53,449,189. Of that, 31 percent, or $16.7 million, comes from realty transfer tax.
“It’s our highest revenue source,” said Finance Director Gina Jennings. “At about $1 million less is our property tax, at 29 percent, or $15.5 million. The next largest is charge is for services, at $10.8 million, which includes things like building permits, building inspection fees…”
The next largest funding source for the general fund is intergovernmental, at $6.4 million, with $4.9 million of that for emergency services provided by the State.
For the 2016 fiscal year, Jennings said, they would budget $16.7 million from realty transfer tax.
“Even though we anticipate probably $22 million, we need to be very conservative on how we budget this revenue. It’s very volatile. To be reliant on this is not a long-term plan. So we’re very conservative.”
About $13.6 million, or 25 percent of the general fund expenditures, is spent on paramedics, and $3 million spent on emergency preparedness.
“Between those two, 31 percent of our pie chart is County-owned public safety,” said Jennings.
She noted that, from 2005, when 11,600 incidents were dispatched by County EMS, the number of incidents in 2014 had increased to 15,200. Over that same time period, there was a 29 percent increase in 911 calls.
“To keep up with this demand, we also have to increase our services and expenses,” said Jennings.
Over the last 15 years, the County has given $46.6 million to fire and ambulance services within the county.
Lawson said that, since 1995, the County has had a contract with the Delaware State Police to provide extra troopers to serve the County. The County is currently paying for 44 additional troopers, along with their equipment.
“This year’s number is just over $2 million,” he said.
Jennings said the DSP is at 200 troopers assigned to the county’s three troops currently, but they are required to have only 143.
In the proposed budget connection, some fees are recommended to increase. Following an effort over the past few years to establish consistent pricing for public wastewater service, the County will continue to phase in a unified, one-time sewer connection fee for new users.
In the meantime, quarterly sewer service rates for existing and new customers — the County currently serves 59,420 customers — will increase by $8 in most cases; one district, Long Neck, will increase by $12.57.
Those who wish to see the budget and related presentation may do so at www.sussexcountyde.gov. The County Council will hold a public hearing on the proposal during its 10 a.m. meeting Tuesday, June 16, in council chambers at the County Administrative Offices building, 2 The Circle, in Georgetown. The public can comment in person on that date or submit comments through the web, at firstname.lastname@example.org. By law, the Council must adopt a budget by June 30.
Based on a request made by the Town of Ocean View, the Delaware Department of Transportation (DelDOT) will keep in place past May 15 the two temporary traffic signals at the intersections of Windmill Avenue and Cedar Drive with Central Avenue.
Last month, the council had requested that Town Manager Dianne Vogel contact DelDOT to request that the two signals be converted to permanent traffic signals.
Vogel said at a town council meeting this week that she had received an email on May 11 from DelDOT representatives, stating the signals at Cedar Drive will remain in fulltime green/yellow/red mode for the timebeing, while they will convert the signals at Windmill Avenue to flash mode — a flashing red for the Windmill side and flashing yellow on Central.
“They’re going to continue to collect additional traffic data at both intersections during the summer to further assess whether there are more changes needed during seasonal traffic conditions,” said Vogel.
DelDOT officials did note that the signals were installed solely to accommodate the detoured state Route 26 traffic, which was well-publicized, and were intended to be temporary in nature.
That goes beyond the use period intended for the signals — the design of the signals is temporary, too, with contractors having used wooden poles. Conversion to permanent traffic signals, with steel poles at a minimum, would be of significant expense.
Vogel said that she, along with Mayor Walter Curran, Public Works Director Charles McMullen, Town Solicitor Dennis Schrader and Town Engineer Alan Kercher, had recently met with two representatives from Asphalt Paving Systems Inc. regarding the 2013 micro-surfacing project that the Town said had failed to meet any reasonable minimum performance expectations.
Due to the poor condition of the micro-surfacing, she said, Asphalt Paving will sweep the streets prior to Memorial Day and within one month after Labor Day.
Kercher Engineering Inc. will conduct an evaluation/condition survey in March 2016 to determine whether or not re-surfacing may proceed that spring.
“I’ve had at least three people come up to me and ask, ‘Why are you waiting until March 2016 to fix the problem?’” said Curran. “The answer is very simple — because we don’t want to fix it six more times.
“It is what it is. We need to clean up the loose gravel, which is the only real hazard involved... The point of it is, at the advice of Alan Kercher, who is the professional in all this, he says to wait until we get through one more winter, because he thinks probably by then it will have broken down as much as it can break down.”
If the streets are not ready, Asphalt Paving will agree to extend the existing warranty and maintenance bond for at least one year.
“This will all be done at the cost of Asphalt Paving,” said Vogel, noting that the Town had informed the company that all future paving work with them would be put on hold until the issue was resolved.
Vogel also reported that the Town had recently received a letter from DelDOT regarding Phase III of the Streetscape Improvement Program.
“Basically, we need the full support of the community and must obtain easements,” she said. “There are five people that have not signed those easements. If the property owner does not agree to donate the easement in order to construct those sidewalks, it’s not going to be condemned, and the project is not moving forward, period.”
Vogel said letters were sent to the five property owners earlier in the week; however they had yet to receive any response.
“This was a feel-good project that the State was offering to us to put sidewalks in areas that I personally think need them,” said Curran. “At this point in time, it doesn’t look like it’ll happen. It’s one of those — 10 years from now, five years or next year, when they come and say, ‘We need the sidewalk. Look at the traffic,’ I’m gonna have to say, ‘Told you so.’”
In other Town news:
• New barbecue grills, picnic tables and landscaping have been installed in John West Park. Vogel said more improvements are planned for this year.
• Vogel thanked the Public Works Department for their work preparing the park for the Town’s annual Homecoming.
“It was a good event. I hope everyone who came enjoyed it.”
• The Ocean View Police Department had submitted a grant application for $12,263.78 to the State Law Enforcement Asset Seizure Fund, to purchase a Honda Pioneer All-Terrain Vehicle.
“That will enable us to patrol some of the areas that aren’t accessible by automobiles in town,” said Chief Ken McLaughlin, noting the Bear Trap Dunes golf course and the Assawoman Canal Trail.
• The council voted 3-1 to appoint Baptist Damiano to the Planning & Zoning Commission. The council reappointed Gene Brendel to the Town’s Board of Adjustment. Damiano, Brendel and Don Walsh were all reappointed to the Town’s Board of Elections.
The Indian River School District will remain in the hands of incumbent school board members for another year. In the May 12 election, three candidates kept their seats on the Board of Education. The unofficial results were posted within an hour of the polls closing.
According to unofficial results, Charles M. Bireley (410 votes) defeated Gregory Michael Goldman (180) and Judith Ladd Teoli (94) in District 4 (Frankford and Dagsboro to the southern coastal areas).
In northern Georgetown’s District 1, James E. Hudson (160) and James E. Fritz Jr. (146) defeated Miguel A. Pirez-Fabar (30).
“I would like to thank everyone who participated in my campaign,” Bireley said. “I would also like to thank everyone who came out to vote. I’m looking forward to the next part of my term.”
The 2015 campaign was a positive experience, Bireley noted.
“I thought it was a well-run campaign,” Bireley said. “There was absolutely nothing negative said by anyone.”
This year also included the first local school board debate that Bireley said he’d heard of, hosted by the League of Women Voters of Sussex County. He said it was the first debate event off school grounds, too, although candidates have been invited to speak at individual PTOs in the past.
“Again, I would say the biggest issue we have is the growth of the district, and we’re going to get on that as soon as possible because it takes so long,” Bireley said, “to get your permits in the beginning, have a referendum. … Say, for example, we decided to build a new building, we’re looking at five, six years [before it even opens].”
Among his fellow board members, “I think I know what the temperament is,” Bireley said. “I don’t know of anyone” who doesn’t see IRSD’s need for space, especially as the district approaches 10,000 students (9,842 in the official count on Sept. 30, 2014).
Having served the board for 38 nonconsecutive years, Bireley has also been board president for 15 years, including the last 10.
Fritz and Hudson both joined the board in 2012.
Terms are now five years each, beginning July 1.
Late-night work is getting a little later this summer on Route 26. The Delaware Department of Transportation was already scheduled to begin a second year of overnight work on the road construction project, from May 15 to Sept. 30, in a schedule designed to accommodate summer traffic.
Last year, DelDOT heard pleas from local businesses to avoid the dinner hour, so summer lane closures this year will now occur from 9 p.m. to 8 a.m. on weekdays. Lane shifts may occur during the day on weekdays, but two full lanes must remain open at all times outside those overnight hours. Lane closures are prohibited entirely during weekends.
In a 2012 survey, most residents and business owners said they preferred to have the project utilize night work, which will help the project conclude faster.
In summer, builders get 11 hours at night for lane closures. Since night work began last summer, the night hours have been pushed back by two hours, to aid vehicles driving to late-night dinners and events.
The work is part of a 2.5-year project to expand a 4-mile stretch of Route 26, from Assawoman Canal to Clarksville. Crews are adding sidewalks, clearer entrances and exits, center turn lanes, and water and sewer pipes. The official end-date is the late summer of 2016.
Drivers are still being encouraged to use the official alternate routes that utilize local back roads.
Drivers wishing bypass construction completely to reach Bethany Beach and Coastal Highway can detour (eastward) on Burbage Road, Windmill Road, Central Avenue, Beaver Dam (via Parker House Road) and Muddy Neck Road.
Those roads were the official detour route when two small Route 26 bridges were closed for several months this winter.
Additionally, Ocean View officials announced this week that DelDOT had responded affirmatively to their request to keep in place two temporary traffic lights, at the intersections of Windmill and Cedar Drive with Central Avenue, past the original May 15 date.
The lights at Cedar will remain in the standard green/yellow/red pattern, while the ones at Windmill will utilize a flashing yellow light for traffic on Central and a flashing red light on Windmill. Additional studies of the traffic at the two intersections are planned, with permanent placement not assured. Making either light permanent would require the existing, temporary wooden poles to be replaced with steel poles.
As public outreach coordinator, Ken Cimino personally responds to all questions and complaints regarding Route 26 construction. Residents and businesses can contact him at (302) 616-2621 or Kenneth.Cimino@aecom.com.