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    Coastal Point • R. Chris Clark: Michelle Freeman, president and CEO of the Carl M. Freeman Companies, delivers the commencement address.­Coastal Point • R. Chris Clark: Michelle Freeman, president and CEO of the Carl M. Freeman Companies, delivers the commencement address.­Graduation caps were flying before the graduation ceremony even ended at Indian River High School on May 27. The Class of 2015 held frantically onto their mortarboards as the wind gusted on an otherwise beautiful evening in the school’s football stadium.

    “If somebody asked me ‘rain or wind,’ I’ll take wind any day,” Principal Bennett Murray said, beginning the 46th commencement at IRHS.

    “What a group of young adults we have this evening, and we are proud of each and every one of them,” he said of the 199 grads.

    Murray estimated that about 82 percent of the class will continue their education at colleges in Delaware, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Georgia, Tennessee, California and more. Another 5 percent are going into the military, and 15 percent will directly enter the workforce.

    Class President Avery McCormick said high school doesn’t begin as expected, and it doesn’t end that way, either. IR, he said, was the “place where, over the past four years, we discovered who we are,” he said.

    Valedictorian Sarah Buchler encouraged her class to work hard, so as to never disappoint themselves.

    “The most important person you have to answer to is yourself,” she said.

    Coastal Point • R. Chris Clark: “These hands are going to take you through life, hold the hand of someone you love… and these beautiful hands are enough to do great things in this world.” — Michelle FreemanCoastal Point • R. Chris Clark: “These hands are going to take you through life, hold the hand of someone you love… and these beautiful hands are enough to do great things in this world.” — Michelle Freeman“Find something that you love and pursue it,” Buchler added, referencing math teacher Ray Steele, who returned to the classroom after trying several years in administration.

    Now retiring from IR, Steele is a 1971 grad who was invited to call the graduates’ names. As a favorite teacher of many students, he received a standing ovation from the grads.

    And as the graduates gathered together for the last time, fear was a key topic for Salutatorian David Chan and guest speaker Michelle Freeman.

    “The real world is nothing to be afraid of, right?” Chan asked. “This theme is fear of financial crisis … of unemployment … of losing hair.”

    He didn’t shy away from his fear of the future.

    “Make fear your ally. … If you know what you are afraid of, create a goal that can counteract your fear,” Chan said. “We are more capable and stronger than what we, as individuals, think we are.”

    “Do something you fear every single day of your life,” Freeman, a local entrepreneur and philanthropist, said. “It will change your life. … Once you work through that thing, the next opportunity will present itself.”

    “What’s very interesting to me is … when I hear my bio read, the things that [defined] my life are not in that bio,” she said.

    The same woman who suffered addiction and was on food stamps has now been drug- and alcohol-free for 27 years. A single mother, she also leads the Carl M. Freeman Companies, Joshua M. Freeman Foundation and Carl M. Freeman Foundation.

    She said she is one of only 12 female NBA team owners, as a part-owner of Monumental Sports & Entertainment, which runs the Verizon Center and its pro sports teams.

    “This moment is yours to enjoy, and you’ll never have it again. So honor it,” Freeman said.

    She also shared the importance of the little moments that lead to the big ones. She said she never guessed that she’d own the real estate company where she once unhappily processed rental units, or own the hockey team that she and her father once watched from the nosebleed seats.

    Parents helped their students to this point in life, but graduates will make their own way forward.

    Freeman then asked students to look down at their own hands.

    “These hands are going to take you through life, hold the hand of someone you love. … And these beautiful hands are enough to do great things in this world,” Freeman said.

    In a surprise announcement, the IRHS Alumni Association’s $1,000 IR Pride Scholarships were awarded to Gabriella Castillo, Alison Jennings and Avery McCormick. A dozen musicians also performed a student-arranged medley of music by Eminem, Miley Cyrus and Wiz Khalifa.

    “Class of 2015, after four years, we finally did it,” Chan said.

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    For June’s art show theme at Gallery One, there were no rules — no should-a’s, could-a’s or would-a’s, and no agonizing over what to paint in keeping with the chosen theme of the month. This month, Gallery One artists painted whatever they felt like painting. They were “Free to Be Me.”

    Sonia’s Hunt’s pen-and-ink and watercolor is titled “Doors and Windows.”

    “Walking in San Gimignano, Italy, I saw these plants and pots behind an iron gate. They were so beautiful, I just had to paint them,” she said.

    “East” by Peggy Warfield is a collage and acrylic painting in homage to her father. She placed a snapshot of him in a biplane within the walls of a house. She said his responsibilities as a young husband and father in the ‘30s and ‘40s left him with no leisure or finances to pursue the many things that interested him; he was never able to “fly away”; but his sacrifices afforded her the freedom to pursue her heart.

    Lesley McCaskill painted the “Indian River Life Saving Station” for the first time 30 years ago and continues to do it again and again. She said she never tires of the inspiration of the imposing and beautiful architecture. “This structure is a wonderful remnant of the past. I see it as man’s attempt to have safety from the powerful ocean.”

    Aubre Duncan does her magic with color again for this month’s theme. Her subject, the water tower at Nemours in Wilmington, is a lofty white structure against a vivid blue sky. She took the freedom to add her trademark flow of colors to make the tower come to life.

    “I feel free when I am painting! I can do and try anything and everything and then try and make something out of it! Pure exploring, creating and discovering,” said Tara Funk Grim. Her mixed-media piece, “Tutti Frutti,” is a riot of color and blossoms and wild imagination.

    Joyce Condry collaged and painted big juicy apple in vivid red and green.

    “I’m a creature of habit. If I like something and it’s not toxic, fattening or life-threatening, it becomes a part of my routine. Nearly every day of my working life, my lunch included an apple. In my retirement, I’ve been more free and added a little variety, but nothing is as satisfying as the crunchy, sweet taste of an apple. ‘An Apple a Day’ defines me.”

    Gray sky, soft blue and lavender hills in the distance, and in the foreground, a single tree bathed in autumnal light — Laura Hickman explained her pastel, “This tree is one of the most striking landmarks in the Crete Senese area of Tuscany. Every season of the year catches the light and greets everyone who passes by.”

    “She Loves Me… She Loves Me Not” is the title of Dianne Shearon’s watercolor of daisies blowing and bending in the wind. “Remember the rhyme we all said when we were young? It reminds me of summers long ago and the feeling of being absolutely free.”

    “When I am ‘Free to be Me,’ I will be living in an old villa on a mountainside in Tuscany, painting all day. I will wander around the region, taste the local food and wine and shop at markets and enjoy the people. In the meantime, I dream of Tuscany and have painted my imaginary landscape.”

    This is a sampling of the work to be seen this month at Gallery One. The public is being invited to view these pieces and more work by each of the gallery artists, and to visit the display of fine art by local artisans who specialize in pottery, jewelry, blown glass, weaving, wood work and metal and glass. Gallery One is always staffed by one of the artists and is open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

    Visit Gallery One’s website ( for more information and the opportunity to sign up for monthly e-blasts or call (302) 537-5055. The gallery is located at 32 Atlantic Avenue (Route 26) in Ocean View.

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    Coastal Point • R. Chris Clark: Restauranteur Steve Hagen shucks oysters at the raw bar of his fourth Off The Hook venture — Hooked Up Ale House in Millville.Coastal Point • R. Chris Clark: Restauranteur Steve Hagen shucks oysters at the raw bar of his fourth Off The Hook venture — Hooked Up Ale House in Millville.You know them all by name — mostly, because they’re all kind of the same.

    First, there was Off the Hook in Bethany Beach. Before long, Just Hooked followed in Fenwick Island. Then, more success. More restaurants. More puns. Eventually, Hooked opened up in Ocean City, Md.

    But just when you thought Steve Hagen and the Off the Hook Restaurant Group were running out of names, they’re at it again — launching Hooked Up Ale House & Raw Bar in Millville this week, their fourth restaurant in just six years.

    And, this time, there’s a real hook.

    “It’s totally different than anything else that we’re doing,” said Hagen of the new venture. “We want to take the same concept of fresh products and original sets and put them into things that appeal to everything and everybody.”

    While Hagen’s first three restaurants, of course, all offer their fair share of variety in terms of both menu and atmosphere, Hooked Up aims to break the mold by offering a more casual gastropub setting.

    And with 24 beers on draft, 24 screens, the NFL “Sunday Ticket,” a long and lively raw bar, a game room equipped with pool tables and murals dedicated to local teams, and plenty of seating — the approach is not only new for the OTH Group but, according to Hagen, the local area in general.

    “We felt like there was a need for it in the community,” he said of the sports bar-like setting. “Obviously, we’ll be specializing in the local games — every single one of the Ravens games, every single one of the ’Skins games, every Eagles games — everybody will be well-represented.”

    The pub menu is also set to reflect the relaxed atmosphere, staying true to the signature “farm, ocean, table” approach responsible for the group’s continued success, and putting a sports-bar spin on it.

    In addition to the raw bar and steamer menu, “Triple-B” wings tossed in a bourbon-glaze, bacon, and blue cheese; kung-pow calamari with peppers and chopped cashews; boardwalk-style hand-cut french fries; and pork belly corndogs are just some of the light-fare items patrons can start off with.

    For lunch, the truffled-cheesesteak subs on delivered-fresh-daily Philadelphia bread, the California BLT with fried avocado, and the “Ridiculous Ruben” on rye straight from New York steal the show — but don’t forget the award-winning truffle burger.

    “We’re definitely gonna have our truffle burger,” Hagen said of the burger ranked among the best in Maryland by Thrillist.

    The menu also features homemade soup and fresh salad choices, such as Texas short-rib chili with black garlic croutons. But there are also options — and dining space — for those looking for a more traditional sit-down lunch or dinner.

    “You’ll have entrées also,” said Hagen. “We’re gonna have nice ribs here. We’ll have a bone-in cowboy steak.”

    Keeping in gastropub style, Hooked Up will feature a daily happy hour, with not only beer, wine, and drink specials, but $5 burgers, nachos, steamed shrimp, fried pickles, wings specials and more.

    “We’ve got a huge happy hour,” Hagen noted. “We’ll always have a tap designated for $2 pints.”

    For the rest of 24 tap handles, they’ll feature plenty of local favorites on draft, with crafts from breweries including Burley Oak, 16-Mile and Third Wave, and continuing to bring in others as they become available.

    Even before the grand opening on Monday, Hagen’s newest venture had already seen overwhelming anticipation from local patrons who have been supporting his vision for years — which, for him, is what’s made it all possible.

    “More than anything, we’re humbled by the support we get from the community, in every single way,” he said. “It’s awesome, because it goes from that spot where it feels like family — that’s how familiar it ends up being. They just support us, through anything and everything.”

    It’s that support that highlights the local area for Hagen — something that revitalized him now more than 10 years ago, allowing him to free himself from a life of addiction and to instead put his efforts into his passion for the culinary arts — going from once being somewhat of a “lost boy” to establishing a new name for himself behind the word “Hook.”

    “To go from where I came to being successful in something that we absolutely love doing — we surround ourselves with great people,” he said of his personal journey and a restaurant group that has gone from just 50 to more than 700 seats. “We love putting out good food. We love the service that we put out. We put out a restaurant group that people seem to enjoy.

    “We’ve got phenomenal chefs, phenomenal managers, phenomenal servers, bartenders, hostesses, you name it — you can’t do this stuff by yourself — every single person brings something to the table. That’s the cool thing.”

    Hooked Up is located at 38069 Town Center Drive, #19-20, in the Millville Town Center. For more information call the restaurant at (302) 539-4111, or check out the full menu on their Facebook page, at

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    Approximately one man in seven will be diagnosed with prostate cancer during his lifetime, according to the American Cancer Society. As the second leading cause of death in American men, just behind lung cancer, prostate cancer is most prevalent in older men.

    A blood test measuring prostate-specific antigen, commonly known as PSA, can help detect early prostate cancer, and in order to raise money for Beebe Medical Center’s Free Prostate Cancer Screening & Awareness Program, Progress for Prostate was created in 2004 by Bethany Beach resident Bob Davis, after he won his own battle with prostate cancer.

    Last year, he handed the reins over to Drew Sunderlin, another prostate cancer survivor.

    “This tournament was developed to help those individuals who either did not have the means or transportation so they could get screened,” said Sunderlin. “That was Bob’s dream. I am merely trying to expand the horizons on this a little bit.”

    Over the years, the fundraiser has raised more than $240,000, raising $33,00 last year alone.

    “Last year, we set a record for fundraising for Beebe’s Tunnel Cancer Center through Progress For Prostate. This year, we’re going to smash that record,” Sunderlin predicted.

    The American Cancer Society’s estimates that, in 2015 in the United States, there will be approximately 220,800 new cases of prostate cancer and approximately 27,540 men will lose their lives to prostate cancer.

    “The whole purpose of this tournament is to get awareness to the men in the community that they need to get tested, they need to be screened for prostate cancer,” Sunderlin said. “This is the only event in the entire state of Delaware that is specific to men’s health and prostate cancer in general.”

    Through Progress for Prostate’s years of support, Beebe’s Free Prostate Cancer Screening & Awareness Program was able to purchase a van that travels throughout the community, offering PSA screenings.

    “This is for free prostate cancer screenings and men’s health awareness for the Tunnel Cancer Center. It’s to help people who pretty much can’t help themselves,” said Sunderlin. “Most men die with prostate cancer; they don’t die from it. If it is detected early enough, the chance of recovery is very high. The whole trick to this is early screening.”

    The 12th Annual Progress for Prostate Golf Tournament will be held on June 25, at the Cripple Creek Golf & Country Club. Registration for the event begins at 7:30 a.m., with an 8:30 a.m. shotgun start. It offers both a scramble format and a straight golf format.

    The tournament is a team competition, open to all community members, men and women. Participants may enter as a foursome or be assigned to a team. A spot on the links costs $150 for an individual or $600 for a foursome.

    “Anyone can win,” said Sunderlin.

    Those who participate can enjoy a coffee-and-Danish breakfast prior to the tournament’s start. All will receive individual player gifts, access to the free beverage cart and lunch. Player fees also include teams bracketed by handicaps and skill holes — for accuracy, longest drive, closest-to-the-pin, a putting contest and par-3 hole-in-one.

    “We have two hole-in-one opportunities,” he said. “On the front nine, Holly Kia is offering a brand new car for anyone who can get a hole-in-one. And on the back nine, Jeff Baxter Mortgage Team is offering a $15,000 cash award.”

    Sponsors for the event include Wells Fargo Advisors of Collegeville, Pa., Cellular Connection, Beebe Medical Center, Devon Engineering, Morning Star Construction, Dr. Srihari Peri, Bob Davis and Banks Wines & Spirits.

    New this year, are flag hole sponsorships at each of the 18 holes. The flags that will fly on the greens that day will be embroidered with the sponsoring company’s name and will later be given to them as a thank-you gift.

    “Sea Needles down in Bethany is giving every flag hole sponsor a $15 discount on any frame they want, because the sponsor gets to keep the flag at the end of the tournament.”

    During the event, there will also be silent and live auctions, as well as a 50-50 drawing.

    “Last year, we had 108 local vendors contribute to our silent auction alone. It just blows my mind, the generosity of the people here in our area,” he said. “We have some great live auction items this year that include … round trips on the Cape May-Lewes Ferry, and an overnight stay on the beach with dinner, lunch and golf in New Jersey.”

    As part of the fundraising efforts, a magic show and dinner will be held on Wednesday, June 24, at Cripple Creek. The show is open to anyone in the public who wishes to attend for $35 per person. The magic show will be performed by Rich Bloch, owner of Millville’s Dickens Parlour Theatre. Bloch also serves as the tournament’s honorary chair.

    “The magic show and dinner sells out early every year,” Sunderlin noted. “Rich is such a good entertainer.”

    Additionally, at the registers at all four Hocker’s store locations, from now until June 21, patrons may give a dollar or more to donate to Beebe’s screening efforts.

    “That goes directly to Progress for Prostate,” said Sunderlin. “Sen. Hocker has really helped us tremendously to benefit the Tunnell Cancer Center.”

    Sunderlin said the support for the tournament over its 12 years has been phenomenal and he hopes it will continue.

    “It’s important that the community understands how incredible the support has been. This is truly a locally sponsored event, even though this is for Beebe in Lewes,” he noted, adding that 95 to 98 percent of those assisted live south of the Indian River Inlet.

    “I can’t tell you how thrilled I am with the support that we’ve gotten from the local merchants in this area. It’s a wonderful thing, and it shows how great an area we live in.”

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    The South Coastal Library is inviting community members to “Escape the Ordinary” this summer, with a wide array of summer programming that offers everyone in the family something fun to do at their local library.

    “It’s a way to keep your mind moving during the summer — you’re reading, you’re learning, you’re experiencing,” said Susanne Keefe, director of the South Coastal Library. “Summer is our big party.”

    Reading programs run from June 1 to Aug. 14 and can be done in person or this year, for the first time, online.

    “Last year, we had over 500 kids sign up, and about half of them finish,” said Keefe. “We hope that this year, being able to do it online will increase the number of them that finish. They can even print out their certificate when they’re done. So we’re hoping this helps the kids that aren’t here the whole way through.

    “It may help some of the adults, too. We’re starting to tell people they can do it both ways — the paper blogs, or if it’s easier for you, you can go online.”

    “Every Hero Has a Story” is the theme for the children’s program, for ages 3 to 11. Keefe said young readers will be encouraged to find the story of the heroes around them — two-footed and four-footed.

    Kids entering preschool through third grade must read for a total of 10 hours to complete the program, while kids in fourth through seventh grades must read for a total of 20 hours.

    Those who complete the program through paper reading logs or online will receive a printed receipt, along with a prize (while supplies last).

    Teen participants, ages 12 to 18, are being invited to participate in the “Unmask!” reading program. Those who sign up can read anything of their choice at their reading level, for a total of 1,000 pages, and complete a brief book review for each title they read. Once they reach the 1,000-page goal and completed their reviews, they will earn prizes, a T-shirt, a book and a certificate of completion.

    To give the teen readers a fun start to the summer, on June 17 from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., the library will host a Teen Summer Reading Program Kick-Off Party.

    “It’s a very popular event,” said Keefe, noting that it’s the perfect opportunity for teens to sign up for the program. “It’s for ages 12 to 18. There are things to do while they’re there. They’ll be games set out; the Wii will be set out.

    “It’s a nice way for the kids to get to meet each other, because they usually don’t. Then, of course, we have summer kids who are only down for the summer. It’s a social gathering, but it also gets them excited and started in on the reading program.”

    Those teens who wish to attend must preregister in order to participate.

    Along with the reading program, the library offers a variety of interactive programs for youth.

    Teen artists are being invited to participate in the library’s 7th Annual Art Show, opening on July 2 at 7 p.m.

    “It’s a juried art show for the teens,” said Keefe. “The art can be 2D or 3D, because we have kids that paint and draw, but then there are some who are interested in sculpture and things like that. It’s usually quite interesting. There’s a lot of talent out there.”

    Keefe said the library is hoping to have local artists judge the show. Prizes will be awarded to the artists of the three best overall entries on opening night, with the first-place prize being a $50 gift card to Michael’s craft store.

    The entry deadline is July 6, before 8 p.m. Entry forms may be picked up at the library or found online.

    Craft programs will be offered on June 23, July 7, and Aug. 4 for teens to create a model lighthouse, owl windsock and carnival mask, respectively. All craft materials are provided free of charge, and kids are reminded to wear craft-appropriate clothing.

    On June 25, a juggling workshop will be held to teach them how to juggle. On June 30, Dave Warick, Sussex Central High School drama teacher and founder of Delaware Comedy Theatre, will teach an acting workshop. July 9, a Personal Safety & Self-Defense workshop will be held. Budding artists are being invited to attend a “How to Draw Super Heroes” on June 28, hosted by professional cartoonist Paul Merklein.

    In June, July and August, the library will also host Minecraft and Team Jeopardy games. The library will also host movie and ice cream nights, inviting teens to enjoy a free movie, popcorn and ice cream.

    Other programs include “Heroes All Around,” a talk on Aug. 8 at 10:30 a.m. for kids in kindergarten through fifth grade. The talk is presented by the Delaware AeroSpace Education Foundation, where kids can learn about magnetics, air pressure and gravity. In-person registration is required to attend.

    “We focus on kids and teens because they’re out of school. They’re booked tighter than we are, so it’s really hard to get them in the school year, because they’re so busy,” said Keefe. “This is when we go all-out to provide programming for the kids and the teens. Plus, we want to keep them reading during the summer.”

    The library offers many more programs, including concerts and art programs, promising kids will always have something to do at their local library.

    “It’s great to see the kids come in and get totally immersed in the art programs. Everybody learns in a different way, so you’re always learning, even if you don’t think you are.”

    The adult reading program’s theme is “Escape the Ordinary,” and adults 18 or older are being challenged to read 10 books or magazines or listen to 10 CD books.

    Those who complete the challenge will receive a certificate and prize. As a bonus, those adults who complete one book review may earn a $1 coupon good to pay any library fines. Participants may complete up to three book reviews and receive up to three coupons to use toward fines. Portions of the $1 coupon cannot be credited or refunded, coupons may be used at South Coastal Library only, and coupons must be used by Sept. 30.

    Keefe said approximately 40 adults registered for the program last year, with a little more than half completing the program.

    Additional adult programming includes concerts and a variety of history talks, such as the Aug. 6 Revolutionary War Spies talk at 6 p.m., presented by Ken Daigler, a retired CIA operations officer and author. Daigler will discuss U.S. intelligence efforts during the Revolutionary War and their role in defeating the British.

    “We are a community center. There is no other place to go, really, to have free access to materials, to all the programming,” said Keefe, noting that it’s not unusual to reset the meeting room three times a day during the summer months.

    “The cultural part of the library is a very big demand on us. They value it very highly. They want to have dance classes. They want to hear science programs. They love the history programs.”

    Keefe said it is through the efforts of the Friends of the South Coastal Library, supported by their annual book sales and Beach & Bay Cottage Tour, the library is able to offer such a range of programming for all ages.

    “Were lucky, because our Friends group funds almost all of our programming. We could not do this without them.”

    Those interested in hearing about the library’s upcoming programs are encouraged to stop by the library and pick up a brochure.

    “Some programs are limited in space and require preregistration,” reminded Keefe.

    While anyone, with or without a library card, may take advantage of the library’s programming, one is required to check out materials and gain computer access.

    “If they want to get a library card to check out items, that’s great. If they are a Delaware resident or own property in the state, the card is free. If they are a non-resident, they have two options — either $25 for a year or we have a $10-a-month card for people who are here for the short term.”

    Keefe encouraged residents and visitors to visit their local library and enjoy the great resources it has to offer.

    “There’s plenty for them to do here, watch here, and read here. By all means, drop on in and see what we have. Heaven knows, there’s something for everyone here.”

    The South Coastal Library is located at 43 Kent Avenue in Bethany Beach and can be reached by calling (302) 539-5231. For more information or to register for any of the reading programs, visit

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    A familiar figure at Selbyville Town Hall is stepping away, as town administrator Robert “Bob” Dickerson announced this week that he will retire this summer. Turning 65 years old this month, Dickerson has served as administrator in the town since 2008.

    DickersonDickersonAlthough the official end date for his tenure is mid-July, he may use his vacation days to depart early.

    “I understand five to eight years is common length” for a town manager, although they do move around to other towns, he said. “There just comes a time when you have to make a decision.”

    Dickerson said he plans to concentrate on his family farm in Williamsville.

    “I’m a farmer, and I’ll always be a farmer at heart,” he said.

    “He’s done a great job. He came in with virtually no town experience, and he’s just done a great job,” said Mayor Clifton C. Murray. “We were very fortunate to hire him.”

    “I came in 2008, when the real estate market just vanished, and we didn’t have a lot of growth during a majority of the time I was here. But in the last few years,” he said, he’s seen people coming back to develop. “I think it’s going really good now. The Town has been conservative. We knew we’d eventually have growth. Anytime you’re located 10 miles from the ocean and on a major corridor,” he said, growth can be expected.

    “I hate to see him go. He’s been that good,” Murray said. “You didn’t have to worry about Bob. He’d come to us with any kind of — if you needed help, making decisions. He worked well with all the other departments, as well.”

    “The employees have just been a joy to work for,” Dickerson said. “They’ve just been supportive of everything I’ve done. They knew what to do, they knew their job, and I just tried to” provide the resources to make their jobs easier, he added.

    Dickerson noted that many Town employees have served the Town for longer than he has. He called them “very dedicated workers, with a good, strong work ethic.”

    Dickerson has worked in Selbyville for decades. He was the president of Baltimore Trust Company for about 40 years, before it was merged to form the Mercantile Peninsula Bank, where he was executive vice president. Several years later, PNC bought the company, which is when Dickerson got a phone call that the Town of Selbyville was seeking a local who knew the community well.

    “It was old-home week for me. I live here. I’ve been here forever. It was a real opportunity to work this close to home and with people I’ve known.”

    An ongoing challenge was keeping all the infrastructure, water and wastewater operations up to date.

    But it’s been worth it for Dickerson and his team to serve the people, he emphasized.

    “We work for the people of the town of Selbyville,” he said. “We help them to do what they want to do and provide for the peaceful enjoyment of their homes and other businesses.”

    Dickerson thanked the citizens “for allowing me to serve them these years. It’s been an honor. I feel very privileged to have this opportunity.”

    Murray called Dickerson a trustworthy person with a great personality.

    “[I’ve] never seen him get excited or aggravated,” the mayor said. He always was fair to the people.”

    Dickerson said he worked “just the joy you get from helping people in the community resolve whatever issues they have. Sometimes we don’t have all the answers, but we always listen,” he said. “But when we help, people really appreciate it.”

    “I hope that he’s enjoyed it as much as we enjoyed having him,” Murray said. “We wish him the best.”

    Selbyville will look to Mike Diehl, code enforcement officer, to fill the administrator position in the interim. Diehl has nine years of Town experience, Dickerson said.

    The Town will advertise for a part-time code officer position.

    “I know that Mike Diehl, having worked with the community all these years, developed … a good rapport,” Dickerson said. “They will find him just as dedicated to the people we serve.”

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    Coastal Point • Submitted: An early morning fire damaged the home of Ocean View resident Bonnie Cooper. Community members are rallying to support Cooper in her time of need through donations of giftcards and checks.Coastal Point • Submitted: An early morning fire damaged the home of Ocean View resident Bonnie Cooper. Community members are rallying to support Cooper in her time of need through donations of giftcards and checks.In the early morning hours of June 2, the Millville and Bethany Beach fire companies responded to a house fire in Murray Estates in Ocean View. The fire grew through the roof of the two-story house before it could be extinguished.

    Having heard about the fire through a Facebook group, Kathy Jacobs, director of community relations at Brandywine Senior Living at Fenwick Island, jumped at the chance to help.

    “Somebody posted on there, while it was happening, a picture of the fire and said, ‘Wow! This is in Murray Estates. I hope everyone got out OK,’” recalled Jacobs. “I just responded, ‘They’re going to need help, whoever this family is. If anybody knows who the family is, please get in touch with me so we can get them whatever they need.’ For all I knew at the time, it could have been a family with children in the home.”

    Through the group, Jacobs learned that the home belonged to Bonnie Cooper, who had escaped injury, as she was staying at her mother’s home across the street when the fire occurred.

    Jacobs was able to contact the family and get permission to collect donations to be given to Cooper.

    “I have a friend who went through this a year ago. Insurance companies do pay — it just takes some time,” she said. “But you just wake up with the clothes you have on. You don’t have underwear, you don’t have shoes, you don’t have socks.

    “That’s my passion — backyard fundraising, if you will; grassroots, rather than national companies. When I heard of this, I knew I wanted to help. I didn’t know who they were, but I knew they would certainly need something.”

    Jacobs said she doesn’t know what caused the fire, but does know that Cooper is in need of support.

    “I do know this. Bonnie lives across the street from her mom, Mrs. Murray — she’s 93. Bonnie and her sisters, Ellen Magee of Magee Farms and Shirley Price, all take turns sleeping at mom’s house to take care of her.

    “It was Bonnie’e turn to sleep at mom’s house. So she was at her mom’s, taking care of her, when her house across the street caught on fire.”

    Through Sunday, June 7, Jacobs will be collecting gift cards and checks payable to Cooper, which may be dropped off at Brandywine between 8 a.m. and 7 p.m. No clothing or household items will be accepted.

    “People say, ‘What size is she? We’ll donate some clothes.’ I don’t want somebody else’s clothes just because my house burned down. That’s my thought process, anyway. My reasoning for doing the gift cards and checks is for her to meet her immediate needs. Let her go and buy what she needs now, until she gets that insurance money,” she said. “Whatever I get on a daily basis, I’m not holding until the end to give to her. She will get real-time every day, so that she can get what she needs.”

    Since the fire, community members have already shown their support by giving donations.

    “I had people drop off yesterday,” she said. “Some of the real estate companies pitched in as an office and dropped off, and some families dropped off.”

    Jacobs said this is a wonderful and giving community, and currently Cooper could use all the help it can offer.

    “It is a great community here. People really do rally. People always ask, ‘Let me know how can I help.’ Well, this is how you can help.”

    Brandywine Senior Living at Fenwick Island is located at 21111 Arrington Drive in Selbyville (West Fenwick), at the corner of Routes 54 and 20. Their phone number is (302) 436-0808.

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    The Frankford Town Council this week discussed painting its water tower. At their June 1 meeting, the council reviewed two estimates for repainting the water tower, with the estimated cost ranging from $113,000 to $195,000.

    “Our main concern is how we’re going to pay for this,” said Council President Joanne Bacon.

    Resident Bernard Lynch recommended that the council seek grants to help pay for the project. Some residents asked whether or not realty transfer tax given to the Town from the State could be used to pay for the project.

    Transfer tax revenue is limited to being spent on capital and operating costs of public safety services, economic development programs, public works services, capital projects and improvements, infrastructure projects and improvements and debt reduction.

    At Monday’s meeting, Town Administrator Terry Truitt said she had not spoken to the Town’s accountants to see if the funds could be used to pay for the water tower.

    On Monday, June 15, at 7 p.m. the Town will hold a workshop to discuss getting a grant for the water tower work, as well as to review the employee handbook.

    The Town has recently received funds from the Sussex County Law Enforcement Supplemental Grant, which will be used to make improvements to the police department.

    “This year, there was a $10,000 addition to the funds,” said Frankford Police Chief Michael Warchol.

    With those funds, the police department was able to purchase a safe that will be used to store evidence in the police department. The council also approved $1,000 of those funds to be used to purchase equipment, such as evidence bags and tape, and other supplies for investigations.

    The department also did not have a way to test drugs recovered during an investigation until now, and the council approved the purchase of a $300 drug kit for the department, while $350 of the funds will go to purchasing new badges for the department.

    As the Town currently only has unmarked police vehicles, $800 will be used to have the newest vehicle marked.

    The Town is also looking into having some of the funds pay for a security system in the town park.

    Warchol said the remainder of the funds would go to paying for department salaries and overtime.

    Currently, Warchol is preparing a federal grant application for $3,000 to pay for body armor for himself and the department’s second officer, who is yet to be hired.

    He also noted that the stairway leading up to police department, while temporarily repaired, will need to be replaced soon.

    Also this week, the council voted unanimously to change the hours of operation at town hall to open at 8 a.m. and close at 4:30 p.m. on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays, with town hall opening at 9:30 a.m. and closing at 6 p.m. on Wednesdays. Town hall will also be closed on weekdays from 1:30 p.m. to 2 p.m. for lunch, effective July 1.

    Councilwoman Velicia Melson said she had checked with the Towns of Millville, Selbyville and Dagsboro — all of which are open from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., with an hour lunch.

    “Right now, it’s not cost-effective to be open to 5:30,” said Melson.

    Bacon said the Town’s healthcare and pension process “have come to a standstill” after some issues arose.

    “I hope for it to be in effect by July 1,” she said.

    Dean Esham asked Bacon that, since the plan was approved in February, should they not have have been set up within 60 days of that vote.

    “It is not the employees’ fault,” said Bacon. “I will accept the blame for that. It’s my fault that it’s not done. I was in the process, and then I ran into a problem with that had to be resolved. It is resolved now, and it’s a matter of getting their applications in.”

    Resident Jerry Smith asked what specifically the plan would cover. Bacon said they would only be contributing 80 percent to employees’ healthcare and prescription plan coverage, with the remaining 20 percent to be picked up by the individual employees. Bacon said employees would no longer have coverage for ocular or dental insurance through the Town.

    Resident Marty Presley, who served on the healthcare and pension committee, said the Town employees’ will receive an additional $300 per month, along with a 5 percent pension-plan contribution.

    “Just those two things alone, you’re looking between a $5,000 to $7,000 annual total compensation boost.”

    In other Town news:

    • The council will interview attorney Timothy Willard for the vacant town solicitor position on Monday, June 8, at 7 p.m.

    • The Town will hold the first hearing for the 2016-fiscal-year budget on June 22 at 7 p.m. at town hall. The second hearing and a possible vote will be held on July 13, at 7 p.m. at town hall. The Town’s budget must be adopted by July 15.

    • Frankford Fire Chief Robbie Murray said the company would like to help with the Town’s fall festival this year. Last year, the festival was canceled due to lack of community members offering to volunteer.

    “I would like to see Santa Claus visit the park a couple of times in December, and have the department up there with cookies and hot chocolate,” added Murray. “If we’re going to do that, I think it’s important to get on Santa’s schedule right now.”

    The council agreed, and an event committee will be created to help plan the two events. Presley also volunteered to help.

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    The Indian River School District’s school board is down one member after Shaun Fink resigned last week. Fink submitted a letter of resignation to the superintendent and the board president on Wednesday, June 27, the day after Sussex Central High School’s graduation.

    Fink said he felt that he and the board were going in different directions. Specifically, he cited the board’s “acquiescence to the homosexual agenda.”

    “To me, very simply, to allow pervasive influence of homosexuality to manifest itself in the halls of our schools — to allow it to happen without any forms of redress — is paramount to the approval … of it,” Fink said.

    “I feel, Biblically, if I’m gonna call myself a Christian, a follower of Jesus Christ, the Bible tells me if the organization you’re associated with turns a blind eye to things [that are considered wrong in the Bible] and allows it to continue, that’s the same of condoning and participating,” Fink said.

    Fink was scheduled to be sworn in for a five-year term on July 1. He was originally appointed to fill a 2012 vacancy and ran unopposed in the 2013 and 2015 elections, when terms were two years. He represented District 2, which covers north Millsboro and southern Georgetown.

    Board Vice President Bradley Layfield also represents District 2.

    Fink has never shied away from his expressing his religious beliefs, which played heavily into his participation in IRSD’s process of drafting the new sexual education curriculum last winter.

    However, when he discussed other ideas for the policies, board members said his suggestions would contradict state and federal laws.

    “They said there’s nothing we can do about it,” which Fink said he feels is akin to condoning it. He wanted the board to “draw a line in the sand.”

    “Because we don’t wanna get sued … you guys are holding political and legal expedience to moral and intellectual virtue,” he said, describing the latter terms as “wisdom and courage.”

    “We have to follow the law. All board members take an oath when they’re sworn in that they will obey the state and federal law,” Bireley said. “And if we don’t, we’re not a board member.”

    Delaware State Code forbids employment discrimination based on marital status, genetic information, religion, sex (including pregnancy), sexual orientation, gender identity and more.

    “We’re responding to new things as they occur, by whatever the law says we have to do,” Bireley said.

    As the pastor of Cornerstone Bible Church, Fink said, “I can’t do things that I feel would be un-Christian.”

    He said he was concerned with cross-dressing and with homosexuality in the schools.

    “The LGBTQ ... group — they have a goal, and that goal is desensitizing. The inoculation of our children is their goal,” Fink asserted. “If you can get to the children and get them to think homosexuality is normal, a boy dressing as a girl is normal… Guess what? Children are going to grow up [thinking that is normal].”

    He said he is concerned about allowing “this current generation of kids [to think] that their perversion is normal.”

    “He never told me that personally,” Bireley said, regarding Fink’s reference to the board’s “acquiescence to the homosexual agenda.”

    “I don’t feel as though I have a choice,” Fink said of his resignation. “I tried to make nice, tried to shine light on stuff. … I was told to ‘stop complaining.’”

    He said he will no longer support an organization “that supports the moral degradation of our society.”

    “I never told him anything about ‘quit complaining,’ because he didn’t complain to me,” Bireley said.

    “He retired basically for personal reasons, and that’s it,” Bireley said. “I was very surprised by the resignation. As far as I was concerned, my relationship with him on the board was amicable. Everybody has difference of opinion, but when’s it all finally said and done, we agree we’re gonna go forward [with whatever was voted upon].”

    Past issues with sex-ed

    Outside of the boardroom, Fink made no secret of his desire to eliminate any discussion of homosexuality from the health curriculum, based on his religious belief that homosexuality is a sin. He said he would have preferred an abstinence-only course that excludes entirely even the definitions of homosexuality, bisexuality, transgender and related terms.

    Today, the curriculum does include LGBT-related terms and teaches about birth control methods beyond abstinence.

    “I don’t believe that any of those types of conversations should be had in the school because those … are lifestyle issues,” which are meant to be discussed at home or church, Fink told the Coastal Point in October of 2014.

    In the boardroom, he only used Center for Disease Control statistics to make his case, pointing to the high percentage of new HIV infections among young gay and bisexual men.

    “If you want to teach your child to lead a healthy lifestyle, don’t teach them to be gay,” Fink said in 2014. “This is where I get that.”

    But his comments were considered insulting and discriminatory by many people, including some students and some residents of surrounding areas, including Sussex Central senior Cole Haden, who said in 2014 that Fink was doing a disservice by allowing his religious beliefs to “interfere” with his professional work and “advocating the alienation of LGBTQA youth.”

    “The big question is, ‘Do I hate gays?’ Absolutely not,” Fink said. “They would be treated with the same love [as anyone] under Jesus Christ. … I don’t hate anybody.”

    “I was excited because … I believe we were 80 percent successful in doing what I wanted to do with the curriculum. We got a lot of the ugly stuff out of it,” Fink said.

    Fink was also attuned to district construction projects, asking many questions during board meetings, based on his own building experience.

    He also said he was looking forward to the next term and improving technology in the classrooms.

    In school safety planning work in 2013, Fink was also proud to support guns in the schools, and weapons are carried today by school-based constables.

    “To me, it’s exactly what we need. Those schools have never been safer,” he said.

    “I’m proud of the Lord, because he put me in a place where I could do some good,” Fink concluded, as his chapter on the school board comes to an end.

    Seeking a new board member

    The Indian River School District is now advertising for candidates who would like to fill the District 2 seat.

    Depending on the number of candidates, the school board will likely interview, then select someone in July. The chosen candidate will fill the position for one year, until June 30, 2016. In May of 2016, there will be a regular election for the remaining four years of that term.

    Interested candidates should contact Charles Bireley at (302) 539-9043 or The deadline to apply is June 30.

    Fink suggested the board might not have to appoint someone because “I tried to get out in plenty of time to have a special election.”

    “It doesn’t work that way,” Bireley said of a proposed special election one month before the new term. “The county Board of Elections sets the rules. It’s gonna be handled the same way now as it was then.”

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    The Millville Volunteer Fire Company has suspended one of its members during an investigation of misconduct.

    “We have one of our members under investigation for conduct impropriety in regards to the position that individual held. The member is currently suspended until further notice,” Bob Powell, MVFC public information officer, said in the department’s official statement.

    “It’s an administrative position” that the suspended volunteer held, he told the Coastal Point.

    Powell would not specify the individual’s gender, the exact nature of the suspected infraction or who is conducting the investigation. He could not tell how long the investigation may last.

    At the MVFC, unpaid volunteers are found in all aspects of emergency service, from the board and auxiliary to the firefighters and EMTs.

    Additional information will be released as it is available.

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    The DNREC Division of Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police mid-week were investigating the apparent drowning Tuesday afternoon of an 86-year-old Rehoboth Beach man who reportedly fell overboard while working on his docked boat at the South Shore Marina on the Indian River.

    The victim, identified as Robert Roberts, had gone to the marina late Tuesday afternoon to clean the gunwales of his pleasure craft tied at one of the marina’s slips, according to DNREC representatives. After examining the accident scene, Natural Resources Police said they believe the victim fell from the swim platform at the boat’s stern into the water. He was found floating in the water near the marina by a local resident checking his minnow pots, who then summoned a nearby off-duty firefighter for help in recovering the body.

    DNREC Natural Resources Police were continuing the investigation into the accident mid-week with assistance from Delaware State Police. The body was turned over to the state medical examiner’s office after the victim was pronounced dead.

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    In his new book on golf, “The Adventures of Jerry the Golf Ball,” author Robert Siegel offers readers a fun perspective about the sport.

    “The Adventures of Jerry the Golf Ball” is designed to be enjoyed by all — from young children to senior citizens — especially by anyone who has ever played golf. The story is told from the perspective of a golf ball, rather than a golfer. Jerry’s golfers get him into precarious situations; however, he always seems to get back into the game.

    Published by Tate Publishing & Enterprises, the book is available from the publisher at, or by visiting or

    Siegel, after serving in the U.S. Navy, spent a number of years in the finance department of a large manufacturing firm and 10 years teaching high school business subjects, and has taught accounting and microeconomics at a local university.

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    Sussex Academy held its first Sports Expo at the end of May. The event was open to all Sussex Academy eighth-, ninth- and 10th-grade students, as well as those that are enrolled in Sussex Academy for the 2015-2016 school year.

    During the expo, students were able to register for team tryouts, and meet the coaches and athletic trainer. Information was also available on sports camps and clinics, off-season workouts and injury prevention.

    “The expo provided our students with an opportunity to learn more about our sports programs, our facility plans and meet new friends and teammates,” said Steve Oscar, athletics director.

    The expo took place as the spring sports season at Sussex Academy was coming to an end.

    “It was a good season for all of our spring teams,” said Oscar. “As with all of our teams this year, our players are continuing to learn and advance in playing their sports.”

    John Baybutt, girls’ high school soccer team coach, agreed that his team showed vast improvement during the season.

    “The soccer team improved during the season, both on and off the field, with each game. On the field, each player improved as an individual and as a team. Off the field, our players’ grades improved, and team bonding grew as we became a fun-filled family, always looking forward to our next game. Everyone is looking forward to next year, when we can continue to work on our skills, improve our game and have fun playing soccer.”

    The Sussex Academy softball team finished this season 9-1.

    “After losing our first game of the year to Millsboro (3-1), our team won the next eight games. The most amazing game played was the last one of the year, against an undefeated Smyrna team. Sussex Academy was losing the game 11-2 in the third inning, before coming back to win the game 15-13. It was a great way for such a great group of young ladies to finish their season,” stated Bernard Gray, softball coach.

    This spring, Sussex Academy added golf to its growing list of sports.

    “We were happy to have seven students participate in our inaugural season,” commented Michael Loftus, golf coach. “As a first-year program, we only played three matches, but 2016 will be a full schedule. In each tournament a school would have six competitors, but we fielded three who were ready. We were able to win several matches. As a first-year program, we were very happy with the progress of all of our players and feel good about a full-scheduled team in 2016.”

    Stephanie Hartsoe, girls’ lacrosse coach, said she is also looking forward to next year.

    “Our girls played with heart this year. Every team member improved with each game, and we can’t wait to get back out there next year.”

    Completion of two natural turf fields and two artificial turf fields on the Sussex Academy campus will be completed for fall 2015. Groundbreaking for an aquatics center, donated to Sussex Academy from Schell Brothers, will take place this summer. Construction will be completed this winter. Future construction plans include a softball practice field, additional natural turf fields, a track and tennis courts.

    Sussex Academy currently serves grades 6 to 10, with a plan of adding grade 11 in fall 2015 and grade 12 in fall 2016. The school is a tuition-free public charter school centrally located in Georgetown. Questions and information requests should be made to Gina Derrickson, community and communications manager, at (302) 856-3636 or

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    When property owners switch from oil heat to gas or electric for home use, their underground storage tanks (USTs) are sometimes left in the ground — many times with fuel oil still inside them. Over time, the tanks rust and begin leaking their contents into soil. Eventually, a property owner becomes aware of leaking fuel oil, whether by smelling it in their basement, or tasting it in their water if they have their own drinking water well.

    That’s when DNREC’s Tank Management Section often gets a call for help. And such calls are frequent: Since 2009, DNREC’s Emergency Response Section has responded to hundreds of leaks, costing tens of thousands of dollars to clean up.

    But help for homeowners and others with leaking, unregulated, heating fuel USTs is on the way. Citing the prevalence of old and disused USTs throughout the state, the Tank Management Section recently initiated a heating fuel Underground Storage Tank Closure Assistance Program to assist property owners with removal or proper closing off of their underground storage tanks if left in place.

    The new program is funded by the state’s Hazardous Substance Cleanup Act (HSCA) Fund and administered by DNREC’s Tank Management Section. Delaware Gov. Jack Markell has been a proponent of the program from the outset, having signed into law amendments to the Delaware Underground Storage Tank Act last October authorizing the funding for it.

    “While often small in size, these forgotten underground storage tanks can cause significant environmental damage to the underlying soil and groundwater,” Markell said. “The program will help eliminate a serious environmental threat to many homeowners and their communities, while also reducing expensive cleanup costs.”

    Many residential and businesses properties in Delaware still use oil heat and have a heating fuel tank buried underground. Other properties have long-forgotten, abandoned USTs. Typically, the tanks were installed more than 30 years ago and are now past their expected service life.

    DNREC’s new assistance program covers the cost for the removal or closure in-place of eligible heating fuel USTs; and also includes soil sampling and analysis, over-excavation and disposal of up to 22 tons of petroleum-impacted soil. Additionally, the program provides site restoration to the extent practicable, subject to statutory limitations and availability of funds.

    DNREC Secretary David Small called the Heating Fuel UST Closure Assistance Program “consistent with the DNREC’s mission to be protective of human health, safety and Delaware’s precious environment — by providing limited funding to remove, or close in place, existing unregulated heating fuel USTs, before they have the opportunity to cause a release into the environment.”

    Two of the first homeowners taking advantage of the new program — Steven Zabowski of Newark and Bill Nicholson from Wilmington — had high praise for the program.

    “Every house in my neighborhood still has a fuel oil tank from the 1970s,” Zabowski said, noting that, with half the properties still relying on groundwater wells, the new program ensures that “we do this right, get it done and not leave environmental problems for future generations.”

    Nicholson said he was especially happy about the new program after he was directed to it by DNREC’s Emergency Response Section, which was acting on a call about petroleum vapor intrusion in his home from an old, abandoned UST directly outside his dining room. When he purchased the home 21 years ago, he said, he was not aware that there was a UST on the property.

    Nicholson applauded DNREC’s Emergency Response Team for quick response to the spill incident and for providing information about the new program — and also the Tank Management Section staff and DNREC-approved subcontractors who subsequently helped with the tank removal and cleanup.

    “Everyone has been so responsive, thorough, knowledgeable and helpful in covering every base in the process,” he said. “Most assuring when you have a problem like this at your home.”

    Amy Bryson, who administers the UST removal and closure assistance program for the Division of Waste & Hazardous Substances’ Tank Management Section, said the program also is aimed at homeowners’ environmental awareness.

    “In the past, property owners didn’t think of the potential environmental and safety hazards associated with leaving a UST in the ground,” she said. “Our goal is to help property owners in Delaware remove as many of these problematic tanks from the ground as possible.”

    What’s not covered by the new assistance program? Heating fuel USTs greater than 1,100 gallons, replacement costs for new USTs, aboveground storage tanks (ASTs), or other heating sources (e.g., propane, natural gas, etc.) or equipment (heaters, boilers, etc.).

    Also, in some cases, soil contamination may exceed established action levels, and additional investigation and/or cleanup may be required in accordance with the UST regulations. The program does not cover costs associated with additional investigation and/or cleanup. The program does not cover site-restoration activities, such as replacement of hardscaping, landscaping, decking, etc.. that may have been removed or damaged to perform the UST closure activities. Therefore, property owners may be responsible for those additional costs.

    For more information and a program application, homeowners and other interested parties should visit Upon receipt of a completed application, the Tank Management Section will determine if the underground tank in question is eligible for the program. The Tank Management Section will then notify the applicant of the eligibility determination and assign a DNREC-certified UST closure contractor to perform the UST closure and limited site restoration.

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    On June 27, the Rehoboth Art League’s Art Studios on Route 9 will transform into the site of the Enchanted Forest Gala, from 7 to 10 p.m. Underwritten by Ocean Atlantic Sotheby’s International Realty and sponsored by PNC Bank, the art-infused event is set to raise funds for the RAL, to benefit local artists and students.

    Guests will enter an exotic forest teeming with living creatures created by the Tiger Lili design team, heavy hors d’oeuvres by Nage, a beer garden with signature cocktails by Dogfish Head and dance tunes by D.J. BIS will liven up the evening. Inside the RAL Studios will be several unique music-infused exhibitions created by RAL Exhibitions Director Jay Pastore.

    Headlining the event is Carolyn B. Nagy, assistant vice president of Sotheby’s Mid-Atlantic, who will speak on “Art as an Investment: The State of the Art Market.” An expert in the art market, Nagy joined Sotheby’s Auction House in 2007. She assists her clientele in bringing their valuable property to the appropriate market worldwide, and oversees all formal appraisals in the region.

    “Carolyn is sought after to talk on Sotheby’s Auction House services and the art market and is able to speak at the event courtesy of Ocean Atlantic Sotheby’s International Realty,” organizers said.

    Funds from the ticketed gala will support artists and youth at the new Art Studios.

    “We are excited that the same blockbuster team who planned and created our 75th Anniversary Beaux Art Ball have joined together to lead this endeavor,” said Executive Director Sheila Bravo, “once again to help support the growing needs of our art education and outreach.”

    As a bonus, and to recognize local artistic talent, the community may also purchase a uniquely designed purse or dinner jacket for the event. RAL artists are painting cork purses provided by Sharee’s and distinctive dinner jackets by Carltons.

    “These special jackets and purses create a special memory for this art inspired event, but also raise funds for a special cause,” said Gala Co-Chair Candy Ramelli.

    Co-Chair Ginny Daly agreed: “It’s a wild a mixture of elements: a serious art investment talk and woodland nymphs at an artsy gala laden with creativity, with a mix of art and music and mushrooms and magical enchantment. This will be a once-in-a-lifetime experience.”

    Tickets and reservations for jackets and purses are available through the RAL website at A chance to win a gala giveaway, including tickets, dinner and overnight stay, can be found at the Rehoboth Farmers’ Market on Tuesdays and at the Historic Lewes Farmers’ Market on Saturday mornings, where gala tickets, jackets and purses will also be available for purchase.

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    Coastal Point • Submitted: FlutterBy House held it’s ribbon-cutting event on Friday, May 15. The new store is located at 31854 James Lowe Road.Coastal Point • Submitted: FlutterBy House held it’s ribbon-cutting event on Friday, May 15. The new store is located at 31854 James Lowe Road.Vine’s Creek Nursery is bringing big changes to its Frankford location. Its new building, the FlutterBy House, offers both unique shopping and picturesque views 8 miles west of Bethany Beach, just off of Omar Road. A ribbon-cutting to celebrate the shop’s opening was held on Friday, May 15, with a grand opening ceremony the next day that featured a live butterfly release.

    “I’d like to introduce our new home and garden store at Vine’s Creek Nursery: The FlutterBy House,” said owner Tom Lowe, “It’s a unique store with unique gifts and foods. We’re very excited about it.”

    The FlutterBy House offers everything from lamps and wreaths to birdhouses, sunhats, wind chimes and other décor. Also in stock are fresh Amish baked goods, including pies, breads, cakes, sticky buns, whoopie pies, fudge, gourmet popcorn, cookies, cream cheese spreads and more.

    “I was very lucky to find a distributer who will drop it off every week.” said manager Becky Jones.

    The fresh Amish goods are delivered straight from Lancaster every Thursday. After shopping and sampling, customers can relax on the front porch and take in the scenery or head out back to a very special garden that will be located just behind the FlutterBy House.

    “We’re going to have a big walkthrough butterfly garden,” Jones explained, “There will be benches and a fountain so people can be in the garden.”

    The FlutterBy House, located at 31854 James Lowe Road, east of Frankford, is open Mondays through Thursdays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Fridays and Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sundays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. For more information, call (302) 732-6159.

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    Special to the Coastal Point • Christina Weaver: Carla Briccotto and Mark Banaszak are among the volunteers at the Freeman Stage.Special to the Coastal Point • Christina Weaver: Carla Briccotto and Mark Banaszak are among the volunteers at the Freeman Stage.The Freeman Stage at Bayside has entertained Sussex County residents and visitors since the summer of 2008. Each year, the number of shows and the name recognition of the artists has increased. Indeed, last year, 50,000 people took the opportunity to experience the arts at the Stage’s unique and attractive outdoors setting, located on Route 54, halfway between Fenwick Island and Selbyville.

    Each of those individuals, as well as every artist, came in contact with at least one Freeman Foundation volunteer.

    “The volunteers are the backbone of our mission,” said Patti Grimes, executive director.

    Homer Coates saw his first Freeman Stage show in 2010 and started volunteering the next year.

    “I’ve always been a live entertainment junkie, and I’ve always volunteered at something or another,” he said. “So when I retired to the Refuge, close to Bayside, it just felt natural. I love it.”

    “It’s funny — I had never been to an opera or gone to a ballet before, but now I find I really enjoy those performances. And the biggest surprise artist for me was country singer Nora Jane Struthers. I’d never heard of her, but she impressed me beyond belief.”

    Coates summed up his volunteer jobs by joking, “If you’ve attended a show, I’ve probably parked you, seated you or greeted you!”

    He added that, at the end of an event, everyone pitches in to make sure the last car gets out safely, the last piece of trash is removed and the last of the seats has been put away.

    “That’s the impressive part for me,” said Coates. “By everyone — that includes Michelle Freeman and her family. She is a powerful woman, yet there they are schlepping along with the rest of us, getting the place cleaned up.”

    Michelle Freeman is the founding president and chairman of the non-profit Joshua M. Freeman Foundation, which honors her late husband. When you come to a show you are quite likely to hear Freeman encourage members of the audience to consider becoming volunteers. She explains:

    “Our vision is to build a sustainable, inclusive and model volunteering program. … Our mission is that volunteering benefits the organization, the community and you, the volunteer. Volunteering is a way to make an immediate impact on your community, and a way to generate life skills and relationships that positively impact you, the volunteer.”

    Carla Briccotto said, “We were staying nearby and went to a couple of fabulous performances. Then I heard Michelle talk about the mission for the foundation, and Patti talked about volunteers being the backbone, and I was inspired. I’m already involved in the arts, so I thought, ‘I could do that.’”

    That was in 2012, and Briccotto and her friend Mark Banaszak have been volunteering ever since. In fact, they recently bought a house close by so they would be close to their volunteer work after leaving their real work behind in Middletown.

    “We arrive at the Stage around 5 and are usually done by 9:45, so that leaves us plenty of daytime to go to the beach or even go hear more music later if we want,” said Briccotto. “Everyone is friendly. It’s well organized. You’re recognized for what you do. And it’s just good fun. Plus, you get to watch some amazing artists.”

    “My favorite show so far was the Beach Boys with John Stamos,” said Banaszak. “They created so much energy and warmth in the crowd. And this year I’m really looking forward to Heart, although they have a fantastic lineup for the whole summer.”

    “Mark works the parking lot, and I help get everyone seated on the lawn. There is great teamwork and, if you have a problem, you can always ask one of the ‘blue shirts,’ like Robin, to help,” added Briccotto.

    Robin is Robin Spangenberg, operations manager for the foundation and responsible for its volunteer program. He is one of the foundation’s eight full-time and 20 paid seasonal staff. For stage events, they all wear blue shirts, so they can be easily identified if help is needed.

    “We need about 50 volunteers for each performance,” said Spangenberg. “This year, 140 individuals have gone through training, and we ask that each person volunteers for at least seven events, although some actually volunteer at each show. We’re always looking for more volunteers, and we’ve made it easier for people to contact us by signing up on our website.”

    Spangenberg explained that there are numerous types of volunteer opportunities at the foundation. As well as working at the Stage, they include administrative behind-the-scene jobs, and helping at fundraisers, such as the annual white party and golf tournament. Volunteers also assist local artist John Donato with the Legacy Mural Project in Sussex County schools and help with other student outreach arts programs.

    “We try to match the volunteer with their particular interest and capability,” said Spangenberg.

    Each volunteer has to sign the same confidentiality contract as the staff. Some know, for example, the names of the performers who have been signed for the next season well before the highly anticipated list is revealed. But all are too loyal and ethical to breathe a word, even to their spouses.

    Some volunteers are known as hospitality assistants and runners. They work directly with the performers and their entourages to make sure that everything works perfectly both on stage and during their stay in our area.

    Spangenberg recalled that one volunteer had the pleasure of taking Sheryl Crow’s daughter crabbing. Another took Darius Rucker’s children to McDonald’s.

    “Whatever we can do to make their visit to the Freeman Stage flawless, we do,” he said.

    Sarah Grady is a Bayside summer resident who has volunteered for the foundation almost from the beginning.

    “At the end of the first season, there was an apple pie baking contest, and I rode my bike over to see what was going on. There I met Patti and felt an instant connection. Later, I met Michelle and she struck a chord with me, how she turned such an immense personal tragedy (her husband, Josh Freeman’s untimely death in 2006) into this beautiful venue that does so much good work,” said Grady.

    “It’s just amazing to have watched its humble beginning evolve to a first-class entertainment setting,” she said. “Volunteering here has been just the right fit. I’ve made friends. It’s been a ton of work but a labor of love. I’ve been appreciated, and I keep coming back.”

    While working as one of the hospitality assistants, Grady met singer Pat Benatar.

    “She was so impressed with everything she saw and experienced here, she said she wanted to come back. And that was before she had even performed! She hasn’t returned yet, but I wouldn’t be surprised,” said Grady.

    This year, the Stage’s eighth season, is the largest to date, with more than 50 shows of all musical genres, including 16 national recording artists, as well kids’ programs, “Locals under the Lights” and theatrical performances.

    Volunteering is a great way to see shows between doing one’s assigned duties. It may be why most volunteers initially sign up. But when asked why they come back, they answer simply, “It’s fun!”

    To find out more about the Freeman Foundation and Stage, the volunteer program and the summer 2015 schedule, go to

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    Coastal Point • Laura Walter: Jennifer and Rich Spinks are ready to open the doors to GiggleBugs Early Learning Center in Millsboro.Coastal Point • Laura Walter: Jennifer and Rich Spinks are ready to open the doors to GiggleBugs Early Learning Center in Millsboro.Early education has become a hot topic for parents, with a goal of getting children started on a good path. That’s why GiggleBugs Early Learning Center hopes to fill a gap for children ages 3 months to 12 years in Millsboro.

    “This is my home county. This is my passion. I’ve known since a very young age that I’ve wanted to open my own center,” said owner Jennifer Spinks.

    Jennifer and Rich Spinks bring years of experience to the table, having operated three similar centers in West Virginia.

    “At our center in West Virginia, we had some start with us at 6 weeks and stay with us through the school-age program,” Spinks said.

    After moving to Sussex County, they saw a need for local educational childcare.

    “They’re full with waitlists,” Spinks said of other centers. “There are families that are unable to provide high-quality centers for their children.”

    Families from Selbyville to Georgetown have shown an interest in enrolling, Spinks said.

    Full-time care is available for children 3 months to 5 years. Afterschool programs include ages 5 to 12. The center is open from 6:30 a.m. to 6 p.m.

    GiggleBugs was scheduled to open on June 1, with its own waiting list for the youngest age bracket. But some openings remained for ages 3, 4 and above.

    The center is licensed for 112 children total, and all children must be enrolled. The center does not allow drop-ins.

    GiggleBugs was specifically built as an educational center — not just a daycare — so the large classrooms are connected by wide hallways with water fountains. Using the Creative Curriculum, children aren’t just in daycare. They’re in an educational program with age-appropriate activities.

    “The children think they’re having fun and playing all the time,” but everything is geared toward to specific developmental skills, Spinks said.

    The mission is to “encourage development of the whole child,” including physical, cognitive, social/emotional and language development. “GiggleBugs promotes hands-on active exploration, small-group instruction and positive interaction with highly qualified teachers,” their website says.

    Children will get regular progress reports.

    Instructors are required to have Delaware First credentials issued by the state’s Department of Education, which reflects a certain amount of coursework and training.

    With three playgrounds, children can play in an appropriate-sized area, from the babies’ soft rubber ground to the larger swings and slides.

    Artist John Donato created his signature whimsical paintings at child-height in every hallway. With a dashed yellow line down the middle of the halls, children have a bright indoor roadway.

    “On rainy days, they can use their little wheeled vehicles to get some play in our hallways,” Spinks said.

    Summer camp programs are available fulltime for the warmer months. That includes meals, snacks, field trips and fun theme weeks, such as edible art, camping out, the Olympics and mad scientists.

    The center also boasts secure key-coded entrances.

    Parents can ask about the modified purchase-of-care slots.

    GiggleBugs Early Learning Center is located in Millsboro at 213 West State Street. Learn more by calling (302) 934-KIDS, visiting or emailing

    IR agriculture students help GiggleBugs

    Coastal Point • Laura Walter: Indian River High School agri-science students put their skills to the test, helping landscape the GiggleBugs property.Coastal Point • Laura Walter: Indian River High School agri-science students put their skills to the test, helping landscape the GiggleBugs property.High-schoolers were some of the first students at GiggleBugs early learning center, as Indian River High School’s agri-science department agreed to help GiggleBugs with landscaping.

    From mulching to shrubbery, students took the landscape plan and implemented that design on the ground. “All you would do if you owned your own landscaping business,” explained teacher Jennifer Cordrey.

    They learned how to do the work in the classroom, but now got to practice in the real world.

    “My budget got a little tight, and it’s a real blessing to have them,” GiggleBugs owner Jennifer Spinks said of the IRHS students.

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    OC BikeFest’s Customization in America (CIA) Invitational Bike Show will roll into the Inlet in Ocean City, Md., on Thursday, Sept. 17, through Saturday night, Sept. 19, to showcase award- winning custom bikes with designs from nationally recognized East Coast builders.

    The CIA show will highlight two competition classes, including FreeStyle and Custom Retro.

    Organizers said these are two of the most popular and innovative custom classes that allow enthusiasts to see the creativity of the builders and that it provides outstanding eye-candy for the custom-bike enthusiast.

    “We are excited to be a part of this storied rally and to showcase some of the best builders in the nation,” explained Bob Kay, Biker Pros partner.

    Builders will be available during the show to talk with the attendees and further their understanding of what it takes to create hand-built rolling pieces of art.

    The Customization in America Bike Show provides a path to the AMD World Championship of Custom Bike Building in Germany, by way of the AIMExpo Championship of the Americas Custom Bike Show in Orlando, Fla. The winner at OC BikeFest receives an automatic bid to the Championship of the Americas in Orlando.

    If they win there, they receive a bid and transportation funds to ship their bike to the 2016 AMD World Championship of Custom Bike Building held bi-annually in Germany — considered the most prestigious custom bike show event in the world.

    In addition to the custom bike show, the Inlet will have bands Great White and Kix co-headling on Thursday, REO Speedwagon on Friday and the Doobie Brothers on Saturday.

    An event pass purchased online or at the gate gets offers all that entertainment and more.

    Advance tickets are on sale now at and, through July 9, at $30 for Adult Event Passes (16 and older), regularly $40; $20 for an Adult One Day Pass (16 and older), regularly $30; and $15 for a Child Event Pass (6-15). Children 5 or younger are admitted free of charge.

    Details and advance tickets are also available at all participating Rommel Harley-Davidson locations and Rommel’s Ace Hardware Stores.

    OC BikeFest and Delmarva Bike Week owner and producer Kathy Micheal said she’s excited about the caliber of all the entertainment coming to the event this year.

    “Biker Pros are the best in the industry at promoting and producing custom bike shows,” she noted. “Rommel Harley-Davidson is our presenting sponsor for both OC BikeFest and Delmarva Bike Week. Again this year, they will have activities at their Delmarva location in Seaford and have an increased presence with 2016 motorcycles for sale at the Ocean City Convention Center.”

    Hours vary by location and can be found at and

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    Contractors for a Cause is taking Frankford back in time and turning a local fire hall into a speakeasy this weekend, for their annual spring gala on Saturday, June 13.

    The theme is a “Roaring ’20s Prohibition Ball,” and people can dress to impress at Frankford fire hall from 7 to 11 p.m. (doors open at 6:30 p.m.). Think mobster-chic and flapper dresses for this year’s fundraiser.

    “We try to change up the theme every year,” said CFAC’s Brian Hinds. “So if you’re going to come, bring a flapper dress. I’m wearing a fedora.”

    This is the first time the event will feature an official costume contest, with prizes for the top male and female costumes.

    “Since people dressed up in the past, we thought, ‘Let’s make it really serious.’ People can get really into it,” Hinds said.

    Guests can win big in a live auction, raffles and “Chinese” auction. Big-ticket prizes include a beach bike, ocean kayak, a smart TV, a two-night stay at Bethany Beach Ocean Suites, time on a party bus, Michael Ohrlein art, golf foursomes at local golf ranges and more.

    D.J. Decibel is coming from Baltimore to rock the house. When not dancing or gaming, guests can enjoy a cash bar or heavy hors d’oeuvres from MAC’s Catering and Delaware Distilling Company.

    Guests can try their luck at a roulette wheel, craps table and blackjack. CFAC has gotten all the necessary permits and is bringing dealers from a casino in Berlin, Md., to raise the stakes. People can play with chips, and lucky winners can trade their winnings for raffle tickets, too.

    All proceeds benefit community projects, such as the group’s annual $5,000 in scholarship awards. CFAC’s Helping Hands program offers disadvantaged community members help with special projects. For example, they built a wheelchair ramp and handicapped-accessible bathroom for a man who injured his spine in a surfing accident, so he could continue living in his home.

    The Good Neighbor program continues to support many local causes, including the Justin W. Jennings Foundation and Hogan’s Heroes.

    “We have so many people that volunteer their time. We also have people that own distributorships for lumber and building materials, so all those people are donating… When we go to build something, it’s very hard for us to spend the money,” Hinds joked.

    “There’s gonna be plenty of alcohol. It’s going to be period [décor] … silent movies projected onto the wall. We’re going to have lots of auctions,” Hinds said. “There’s going to be so much going on. … All those things combined, I think the night’s gonna fly by.”

    Besides people having a good time, Hinds said they’ll be supporting a group that has made a big impact in the community.

    Contractors for a Cause is a non-profit 501(c)3 organization of local contractors who give back to the community that supports them.

    According to the CFAC website, the first gala had “humble beginnings,” at a member’s home, in 2000. “Whether the event is a Black Tie Affair, Hawaiian Luau, or even a Casino Royale, the original spirit of the gathering is still alive and well…” the website states.

    “Everything we do impacts our local community,” Hinds said, “and we, as contractors, want to give back to the community that has been so kind to us and made us so successful in our careers.”

    Tickets cost $65 per person at the door. Learn more online at

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