Articles on this Page
- 09/03/15--12:58: _Weeklong event cele...
- 09/03/15--12:59: _Jeep donation to ra...
- 09/03/15--13:34: _Christine’s Consign...
- 09/03/15--13:40: _Art in the yard (yA...
- 09/04/15--08:14: _Validity of Frankfo...
- 09/04/15--08:22: _South Bethany celeb...
- 09/04/15--08:23: _Fenwick gets a floo...
- 09/04/15--08:25: _Sussex P&Z recommen...
- 09/04/15--08:34: _Former home of cart...
- 09/04/15--08:35: _Cripple Creek Car S...
- 09/04/15--08:38: _Community set to we...
- 09/04/15--08:55: _SCAPC continues to ...
- 09/04/15--08:56: _Some wary as Sands ...
- 09/04/15--08:58: _Bethany Beach Jazz ...
- 09/04/15--09:01: _Daytime lane closur...
- 09/04/15--09:01: _Delaware State Poli...
- 09/04/15--09:05: _That giving spirit
- 09/10/15--12:49: _SODE athletes enjoy...
- 09/11/15--10:40: _From the classroom ...
- 09/11/15--10:46: _From mammals to mos...
- 09/03/15--12:59: Jeep donation to raise funds for Tunnell Cancer Center
- 09/03/15--13:34: Christine’s Consignments celebrating five years with Labor Day sale
- 09/03/15--13:40: Art in the yard (yART) hits 10-year milestone in Bethany
- 09/04/15--08:14: Validity of Frankford council appointments uncertain
- 09/04/15--08:22: South Bethany celebrates canal-end beautification
- 09/04/15--08:23: Fenwick gets a flood insurance update
- 09/04/15--08:25: Sussex P&Z recommends against signage moratorium
- 09/04/15--08:34: Former home of cartoonist Block to host warrior family
- 09/04/15--08:35: Cripple Creek Car Show continues to support Operation SEAs the Day
- 09/04/15--08:38: Community set to welcome warrior families for beach week
- 09/04/15--08:55: SCAPC continues to address local addiction issues
- 09/04/15--08:56: Some wary as Sands Motel asks Town for room to grow
- 09/04/15--08:58: Bethany Beach Jazz Funeral set to bid farewell to summer
- 09/04/15--09:01: Daytime lane closures on Route 26 to resume early — Sept. 8
- 09/04/15--09:01: Delaware State Police still investigating OV accidental shooting
- 09/04/15--09:05: That giving spirit
- 09/10/15--12:49: SODE athletes enjoy Camp Barnes year after year
- 09/11/15--10:40: From the classroom to the lifeguard stand
- 09/11/15--10:46: From mammals to mosaics: Boardwalk Arts Festival rides again
This Saturday kicks off a weeklong grand-opening celebration of the Ellen Rice Gallery’s move to Bethany Beach after “celebrating American creativity every day for 16 years” in Ocean View.
The event provides multiple opportunities to meet the artist, see and hear about her method of painting and upcoming projects, attend musical performances by one of Bethany’s own, John Pollard, and enter to win prizes valued at more than $2,000.
Throughout the celebration, Rice, the recipient of numerous awards and honors, including Coastal Style’s 2015 Delaware “Best Artist” award and PNC Bank’s 2014 Artist of the Year award, will introduce a variety of oil paintings in different stages of progress, concluding on the morning of Saturday, Sept. 12, with the debut of her newly completed painting “Evening Splendor.”
Mid-week will offer performances by longtime Bethany bandstand performer, singer-songwriter, recording artist and Cole Younger Band founder John Pollard. He’ll play such songs as “My Bethany” and “Winds of Time” from albums of those names, as well as songs from his four other albums and audience requests, from noon to 2 p.m. and from 3 to 7 p.m., rain or shine, on Wednesday, Sept. 9.
Free grand opening prize tickets will be given out starting this Saturday, Sept. 5, one for every $25 spent on anything in the gallery, from Rice’s paintings and prints to the handmade jewelry, gifts and home décor of more than 140 local, regional and nationally known American artisans. The prize drawings will take place the same day as the Bethany Beach Boardwalk Art Festival, Saturday, Sept. 12, at 6 p.m.
The grand prize is a 22-by-44-inch museum-quality archival giclée reproduction on canvas of Rice’s oil painting, “Addy Sea: Out of the Mist.” Second prize is a 20-by-30-inch museum-quality archival giclée reproduction on canvas of Rice’s “Timeless, Tameless Tide.” Third prize is the winner’s choice of one of Rice’s more than 100 limited-edition prints on paper from among her paintings of the Delmarva coast or her “Strength of Woman Series,” valued up to $500.
Rice’s scheduled appearances will be this Saturday, Sunday and Monday, Sept. 5-7, from 2 to 5 p.m.; Wednesday, Sept. 9, from noon to 2 p.m. and 3 to 7 p.m.; and Saturday, Sept. 12, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. She will also be on hand at random times throughout the festivities.
Light refreshments will be served throughout the event, with wine and cheese served during Pollard’s evening performance on Wednesday. The public is invited to attend.
The Ellen Rice Gallery’s new location is 98 Garfield Parkway (in the Blue Surf building on the south side of the circle), Suite 109, two doors east and a few steps up from Grotto Pizza, about a half-block from the ocean. For more information, visit www.ellenrice.com or call the gallery at (302) 539-3405.
The Beebe Medical Foundation announced this week that it will hold a new fundraising raffle, for a 2015 Jeep Wrangler donated by Megee Motors of Georgetown. All the proceeds from the Jeep raffle will benefit Beebe Healthcare’s Tunnell Cancer Center, located at the Beebe Health Campus on John J. Williams Highway (Route 24) in Rehoboth Beach.
Tickets cost $10 each, or $50 for six or $100 for a dozen. Tickets are available Monday through Friday at the Beebe Medical Foundation on 902 Savannah Road, or by calling (302) 644-2900, and at Megee Motors in Georgetown. The drawing will be Sunday, Jan. 3, 2016.
“What a wonderful and exciting gift the Tunnell Cancer has received from Terry and Vanessa Megee,” said Tom Protack, director of Development for the Beebe Medical Foundation. “Every family has been touched by cancer in some way, and buying raffle tickets is a fun and easy way for everyone to support our local, award-winning Tunnell Cancer Center.”
Terry Megee was recently appointed to the Board of Directors of Beebe Healthcare.
“Vanessa and my family are thrilled to partner with Beebe,” he said. “It is amazing to see how fast Sussex County has grown since 1948, when my Dad started our car dealership, and Beebe has equally kept up with the growth by meeting the needs of one of the fastest-growing counties in the country. Our hope is that everyone will try a chance at winning a new ride, while supporting our local cancer center.”
The Jeep will be appearing at more than 18 community events in Sussex County through the end of December. To volunteer to help sell tickets or request the Jeep to be at a community event, contact the Beebe Medical Foundation at (302) 644-2900.
The Beebe Medical Foundation was established in 1989, with the sole mission to raise philanthropic support for Beebe Healthcare. The foundation’s office is located at 902 Savannah Road, Lewes, DE 19958. For more information, contact the Beebe Medical Foundation at (302) 644-2900 or visit the website at www.beebehealthcare.org/foundation.
From wine night every Thursday in the off-season, to group trips up to New York City and the shop’s mascot — a dog named Evelyn — Christine’s Consignments in Ocean View is not your average consignment shop.
But that just might be the reason for the store’s success. Since opening the doors in 2010, owner Christine Hinz has even been able to open up a second location in Rehoboth, catering to men’s clothing. So to celebrate the store’s five-year anniversary, she’s rewarding the customers who have made it all possible with a 25 percent off sale for Labor Day weekend.
“The whole store — everything’s going to be 25 percent off,” Hinz explained. “I’ve never done that before, and I won’t do that again until my 10-year anniversary.”
Under the tagline “A trendy to place to shop,” the Ocean View location caters to local women and carries items ranging from women’s clothing and shoes to an array of jewelry, handbags, home decor and even furniture — offering some of the top names in designer merchandise, without the designer price tags.
“I’m very selective. We love designer,” she said. “We love Louis Vuitton, Tori Burch. We get a lot of Coach, Cole Hahn. Then we have a lot of sterling silver jewelry and some gold.”
Heinz went on to say that, while not all the clothing is designer, she still looks for more popular brands and items that are newer. In fact, some of the clothing found around the shop even still has the original tags. And with the large assortment of both consigners and shoppers, whether it’s evening wear or dinnerware, at Christine’s, there’s always something new.
“We get new items in every single day,” Hinz said. “The whole store is changed every week. Clothes and shoes go by season. Now we’re in the fall season — all the boots are coming in. Ugg boots are coming in like crazy.”
“Everything is a surprise. Look what I found right here for my South Carolina girlfriend,” said Bethany Beach resident and Christine’s Consignments regular Kathy Megyeri, holding up a unique carrying-case made from a South Carolina license plate. “Every day is an adventure. Every week she has new things. You never know what you’re going to find.”
According to Ocean View resident Peggy Burkat, the store’s popularity is also good for consigners — who collect 50 percent of the merchandise’s sale price.
“I am a consigner, so I bring bags clothes and stuff like that. I have some sterling silver jewelry that I bring — I do real well,” Burkat said. “My daughter, who lives in New Jersey, brings me stuff to bring here. She says it’s the best place. It’s really great. It’s a great little place.”
Burkat went on to note that, with events like the wine nights, New York trips and just the everyday interactions in the shop, Christine’s Consignments is more than just a store to its customers.
“It’s a good place to come,” Burkat said. “Everyone is very friendly, very nice people. The people working for her are really nice, everybody that works here.”
“A lot of friendships have been forged here. It’s just an amazing place,” added Hinz. “We have a lot of fun. I have the best staff — the greatest staff ever.”
For more about Christine’s Consignments, check out their website at www.christinesconsignments.net or the Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/christinesconsignmentsatrendyplacetoshop.
To become a consigner, call the Bethany Beach store at (302) 829-1425 or the Rehoboth store at (302) 226-1126, or visit the Rehoboth location at 200 Rehoboth Avenue. To take advantage of the Labor Day sale, visit the Ocean View location at 42 Atlantic Avenue. The store is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday, and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Sundays, but will be extending Sunday hours for Labor Day.
This Labor Day weekend, Saturday and Sunday, marks the 10th anniversary of the annual yART sale at 33258 Kent Avenue in Bethany Beach. (yART = art in the yard!) There is no “rain date,” so fingers are crossed for fine weather.
The yART sale has become a win-win-win event. Artists win because they are able to display and sell their creations in an intimate and lovely setting, with the only requirement being a donation of one piece of their work.
The community wins by seeing and keeping up with the work of some of the area’s best artists of all media, and potters, jewelers and other artisans. And, most importantly, local non-profit organizations win from being beneficiaries of a “Chinese auction” of the artists’ donations, to the tune of more than $20,000 thus far.
The yART sale takes place in the circular driveway of the home of Julie and Nick Kypreos. The amount of time, effort, planning and generosity they devote to having successful events each year is somehow obscured by the seamless ease, fun and conviviality on the actual days of yART sale. And that includes when a sudden cloudburst erupts and everyone rushes around, focused on protecting theirs and others’ artwork from wind and rain.
“For me, the atmosphere of the event is the best part,’ said Julie Kypreos. “We always have a really great group of artists — some the same and a few different each year — who have forged a unique dynamic amongst themselves and with the public that faithfully returns. Everyone is always excited to see each other’s new pieces and perhaps new directions their art has taken them, and to check out the auction table to see the amazing donations.”
“The second best part is knowing that 100 percent of the money raised is going right back into worthy causes in our local community. I’m really happy that Suzanne Thurman and the MERR Institute is our charity this year.”
The MERR Institute is dedicated to the conservation of marine mammals and sea turtles and their habitat. MERR stands for Marine Education, Research & Rehabilitation. This year marks the 15th anniversary of its inception.
“I majored in special education in college and had a minor in environmental studies. After teaching children with special needs for many years and then becoming responsible for environmental education at Cape Henlopen State Park, I came to realize that Delaware had no formal non-profit program to rescue stranded sea mammals or participate in research on carcasses that land on our beaches,” said Thurman.
“That realization happened when, in a short period of time, both a dead humpback whale and a live seal came ashore, and my boss was out of town. He told me to take photos of the whale and monitor the seal until it could be rescued by the Baltimore aquarium. I was so enthralled by it all, I offered to be a volunteer for the state and get training.
“The tipping point came when a live loggerhead sea turtle came ashore at Beach Plum Island. It had a 3-foot shell, weighed about 250 pounds and was in a cold-stun state. After keeping it overnight in my laundry room, keeping it covered with wet towels and listening to the clattering of barnacles on its shell, it was barely alive the next morning when the aquarium picked it up. But it was nursed back to health and eventually released in North Carolina.
“From that experience, I knew we could do better for our marine animals in Delaware and, with lots of encouragement, I started MERR.”
Since then, Thurman and her team of volunteers have been available 24/7 for emergency response and rescue calls about strandings varying in size from the mighty fin whale that came ashore on Middlesex Beach in 2006 to little Lily, a weanling seal with a broken jaw rescued this past Easter Sunday.
“Some volunteers and I went to see Lily’s release back in to the ocean at Assateague in May. We were jubilant. There are so many that we can’t help. We need successes to keep us going,” said Thurman.
(The Stranding Hotline to call for sightings of both live and dead marine animals is (302) 228-5029. The website is at www.merrinstitute.org.)
Along with the weight on her mind of doing the right thing for Delaware marine life, providing educational and awareness programs to the general public, and performing necroscopies and data collection for research, Thurman has to battle the perennial non-profit burden of funding.
“We found out that we are not getting the federal grant through NOAA for this year, and maybe next, which is a huge blow. We have an annual fundraiser — we call it our MERR Finraiser — in November, and apply for as many smaller grants as we can, but otherwise we depend on individual generosity. We are just thrilled to have been selected as the beneficiary of the yART sale this year,” said Thurman.
Thurman and some of her volunteers will attend the yART sale, and she said they look forward to sharing their knowledge and stories.
A popular feature of the yART sale each year is the children’s tent, with free face painting and crafts.
“My cousin, Lennea Downs, has taken charge of the children’s tent every year,” said Kypreos. “I’m always amazed by the level of creativity she inspires from the kids. In fact, some pieces are good enough to frame and hang on the wall. This year, the theme will be marine mammals, to go along with our charity. With the tent and the display brought by MERR, there will be a lot to fascinate kids and adults this weekend.”
But the main attraction of the yART sale is, of course, the artists and artisans. There will be many familiar names from the local art community, including Lissy Chapman, Damon Pla, John Donato, Jeffrey Moore, Dawn Pierro, Erick Sahler, Morgan Golladay, Maureen Ickrath, Philip Adkins, Martha and Forrest Bogan, Mike Veasey, Joe Mason, Barbara Dietrick, Kristin Mallery, Trudy Fox, Gerrilyn Gatskill, Paula Howard, Anne McLean, Sherrill Christian, Cindi Pace, Linda Zerfling and Ralph Romeo. Ask almost any of them, and they will say the yART sale is their best show of the year.
There will also be newcomers, including Matt Dove and Stephanie Karn from Punk Rock Fish Studio in Berlin, Md.; Heidi Wetzel, a basket weaver; and Issa Luna, an artist with a fresh appeal. Also returning, after selling out of her children’s book “Larry the Lonely Lionfish” on the first day of the sale last year, will be author Jenny Donaway.
If one’s senses are not sufficiently aroused by the sight of so much beauty, there will also be musicians both days to add cheerful sounds and listening pleasure. Helping, as always, will be the extended Kypreos family. Indeed, 10-year-old Sophia has literally been part of art in her own front yard every year of her life.
The yART sale has become a Labor Day weekend tradition for many in our community. Why not make it yours?
The Frankford Town Council held a second special meeting last week in order to appoint residents to the Town’s two vacant council seats.
On Aug. 3 Jesse Truitt resigned during the town’s monthly council meeting. His departure was followed by Velicia Melson’s letter of resignation on Aug. 11. According to the town charter, the positions must be filled within 45 days from the date of resignation. Truitt’s seat must be filled by Sept. 17, while Melson’s must be filled by Sept. 25.
The special meeting on Aug. 17 was also to appoint two residents to the vacant seats; however, they did not fill the seats because there was not a quorum.
The Town’s Rules of Procedure specifies that “three affirmative votes shall be required to approve any matter within the jurisdiction of the agency.”
At the Aug. 11 meeting, the council only had two of the three votes needed to appoint residents to fill the vacant seats. At the Aug. 26 meeting, it was announced that residents Marty Presley, Skip Ash, Elizabeth Carpenter, Dayna Aliberti and Dora Bell had all sent letters of interest about filling the seats.
“It’s wonderful to see so much interest in joining the town council,” said Council President Joanne Bacon to an audience of approximately 15 attendees. “Unfortunately, we can only fill two seats, but I do encourage the ones not appointed tonight to joint our committees, attend our meetings and become involved in the Town of Frankford. I think it’s very important that we hear all voices.”
Councilman Charles Shelton made a motion to appoint Aliberti and Bell to the vacant positions, but his motion was not seconded.
Councilwoman Pan Davis made a motion to appoint Carpenter to finish out Melson’s term, expiring in 2017, and Presley to fulfill Truitt’s term, ending in February 2016, with Bacon seconding. Davis and Bacon voted to appoint the two to the seats, with Shelton voting against.
“We have a little quagmire because of the email we received from the prior attorney, Mr. Schrader,” said Bacon of the communication that informed the council that a vote of all three sitting council members would be required to approve something. “We did not get that.”
Bacon then turned the meeting over to Davis and turned the council’s attention to Rule 10.1, “Any rule of the agency may be changed or suspended by the approval of a majority of all the members of the Agency.”
“At this point in time, we only have three members of our agency,” said Bacon. “I would like to make a motion to approve Rule 10.1, ‘Any rule of the agency may be changed or suspended by the approval of a majority of all the members of the Agency.’ And at this point in time, we only have three members of our agency.”
Bacon then turned the meeting back over to herself and called for a second, which was provided by Davis.
The vote was 2-1 in favor of the motion, with Davis and Bacon in favor, and Shelton opposed.
“That means we’re suspending Rule 5.5,” stated Bacon following the divided vote, “and placing back into the quorum according to the Charter the majority of the entire council, which at this point in time are only three members.”
She then asked for another motion to appoint residents to fill the vacancies. Davis again made the motion to appoint Presley and Carpenter, which was seconded by Bacon.
The motion received two affirmative votes from Bacon and Davis, with Shelton again opposed.
“That being said, it is of my opinion that Elizabeth Carpenter and Marty Presley are now the new council members for the Town of Frankford, to replace Jesse Truitt and Velicia Melson,” said Bacon following the vote. The meeting was then adjourned.
Following the meeting, there was confusion as to whether the appointments were valid, as not all of the three sitting council members had voted in favor of amending the Town’s Rules of Procedure, nor was a motion specifically to amend what constitutes a quorum actually made and approved.
The Frankford Town Council will hold its monthly meeting on Tuesday, Sept. 14, at 7 p.m. at the Frankford fire hall.
For the fifth year in a row, the Town of South Bethany has recognized residents who have taken the time to help make their community a better place by adopting the town’s canal ends.
South Bethany Town Seal
Last week, the Town recognized three canal-end adopters following its annual canal-end beauty contest. The winners were chosen after 339 South Bethany residents cast their votes.
Pat and Frank Weisgerber, with the help from W. 10th Street neighbors, won first place for their canal end, located on W. 10th Street, off of Peterson Drive. Carol and Todd Stevenson, and Dick and Maryanne Schmitt won second place for their canal end, located on Bayshore Drive. Sandi and Dennis Roberts won third place for their canal end, located on the corner of Canal Drive and Russell Road.
On Aug. 27, the winners were presented checks for $200, $100 and $50, respectively, from Cody Kuhnert, construction manager for Lord’s Landscaping.
“Thank you to everyone who was involved,” said South Bethany Councilwoman and Community Enhancement Committee Chairwoman Sue Callaway. “You can see what volunteerism does for a town… This is our fifth contest, and Lord’s has been involved for four years now. We appreciate that.”
“I like to see communities like this are taking initiative in some of the common areas,” said Kuhnert. “The retention gardens — they’re a big help with water runoff. Hopefully, this has steps that maybe other towns, like Bethany, will follow suit. The Town has set a good example and a good starting point … and it was a pleasure being a part of it.”
Pat Weisgerber, who formerly served on the CEC, had previously adopted a canal end for the Town for an Earth Day project.
“I looked at this one, and it really needed some help,” she said of the 10th Street canal end, noting dead trees and overgrown grass and weeds. “The people on the street were all for it; Three of them have been extremely supportive.
“I decided to take it on. I live about two blocks away, so it’s convenient to walk down and check on it.”
Weisgerber enlisted the help of eight neighbors for the end’s June planting.
“It only took us and hour and a half to put all these plants in,” she said.
The canal end is filled with a variety of colorful native plants, with a brick pathway (made from salvaged bricks from Weisgerber’s own garden) and a cedar arbor.
“Of course, my husband, Frank, built the arbor for me,” she said. “I said, ‘We need to have something different.’ A lot of people have benches, but I thought an arbor would be really pretty and different. The jasmine will, hopefully, cover it in the next few years. It’s an evergreen; it flowers and it smells good.”
The garden also has society garlic planted, which Kuhnert said is a wonderful perennial.
“I put these in my garden. It works. I have two big Huskies, and they destroy stuff. I plant this in my perennial bed, and they don’t go near it. I haven’t had a rabbit in my garden with these planted.”
Weisgerber thanked Danny, whose home is adjacent to the canal end, for allowing her to use his home’s water. She also thanked resident Earl Van Cleve, who helped Frank Weisgerber install the arbor, and Don Chrobot, the Town’s maintenance supervisor, who helped draw up the plans and clear the area.
“It’s been a really fun, rewarding project,” she added. “We want to make it nice for future people… It just makes the community a nice place to live.”
Sandi Roberts said that as soon as she heard about the adoption program, she knew she wanted to get involved.
“When we first heard about the program starting, my husband and I thought, ‘What a win-win. It beautifies the town but it doesn’t cost the Town anything,’” she said. “We sit directly across from the canal end we adopted, so for us it beautified our view when we look down the canal. I just think it makes it more attractive and it makes people feel pride in their town.”
Roberts said that by adopting canal ends, neighbors help create more of a community atmosphere in town.
“When I’m out there weeding and people ride by and thank me for what I’m doing, it makes me happy that I’m doing it,” she said. “We’ll continue to do it… You’re making a commitment. It is something that we continue to do. It’s nice to get some money to put into replenishing it each year.”
Their canal end got an unexpected facelift, with new plants, after Hurricane Sandy hit the East Coast.
“We lost pretty much everything we put in in Hurricane Sandy, because the canal end overflowed,” she said. “It’s been a trial-and-error thing. I still hope by the time the canal overflows again, it’ll be my son’s problem and not mine.”
Stevenson, who currently serves on the town council, said the adoption program has helped transform the town, in more ways than one.
“It’s a small thing, but it does make a big impact. It’s something people can take a hold of,” she said. “It’s a lot of work and expense on the part of the adopter. However, it was so fun getting to know the people around the canal, and some of them have taken it up as their cause, too.
“There’s a little retired couple… they provide water, they pick up cigarette butts or trash. The make sure the canal end is neat and tidy… It’s was a great community-building thing. I started it all by myself, and people were standing out in their yard, watching me, but now they’re not. They’re helping, they’re suggesting, or they’re bringing plants. People are getting into it. The adopter takes care of it, but it truly belongs to the community.”
Callaway said 32 canal ends were in the contest this year, out of the town’s 48 total canal ends.
“Some are OK, and some are on our priority list, so we will continue exploring volunteers for those that are on the priority lists.”
Those who are interested in adopting a canal end should simply contact the Town to begin the process, which requires those interested to fill out an application, as well as submit a design plan and conduct a site visit with the CEC. Once the application is approved, the adopter can begin to rejuvenate the canal or road end that they’ve selected.
Callaway said the adoption program helps to not only better the town’s aesthetics, but also helps to improve water quality.
“We’re excited, and we appreciate the increase this year,” she said.
“Sue Callaway is a great leader,” said Weisgerber. “She’s very motivated to keep the town looking nice and functioning ergonomically, with the water thing. It’s her goal to keep everything beautiful and manageable, and the town a nice place to live.”
Fenwick Island Town Council members got an earful on Aug. 28, regarding flood insurance, motels and the recent election.
Resident Pete Frederick shared his concerns over the August election, including voter qualification, registration and the election itself. After comparing the Town’s actions to state and town law, he encouraged town council to change the requirements.
The council addressed his complaint about the town manager and town clerk (non-members of the Board of Elections) sitting at the door with a list of addresses to check people in.
The Board had invited those two to “be present for any questions,” the June minutes state. Weisling said any concerns should have been raised at that time, but Frederick called it infringement if people were turned away at the door.
“Perhaps no one should be stopped before they reach the Board of Elections,” said Councilwoman Julie Lee, who was elected in the voting that day, adding that she understood the reason for the complaint.
“I don’t think the Town did this on purpose. They screwed up,” Frederick said, although he added that he felt the Town had had years to fix it.
Town Manager Merritt Burke responded. “All of us could have done a better job with the election. All of us agree on that point,” he said. He said he received a thank-you “for assisting, making sure I did anything I could to make sure the election went smooth,” and that he looks forward to working with everyone to improve next year’s election. “Let’s do it.”
“I didn’t attend the election” to see who sat where, said Town Solicitor Mary Schrider-Fox. But “I understand this room [council chambers] was the voting room, so other rooms in Town Hall were not part of the voting room itself,” she said, referencing the town staff members sitting at the door.
Elected officials, candidates on the ballot and others associated with the campaigns are generally prohibited in the voting room, said Schreider-Fox, but “State law doesn’t preclude a member of town staff from being one of the [people] that election officers ask to help out.”
Ultimately, she said she wanted to learn more about the election before giving further judgment on the situation.
Meanwhile, the voting power of trusts in Delaware varies by town, Schreider-Fox said. “Trusts are a funny animal. … They feel like something between individual human beings and an artificial entity. So what do you do with them?”
The Charter & Ordinance Committee is the group that would review election rules.
Flood insurance review
Kevin Thomas of Lyons Insurance was invited to talk about homeowner flood insurance, and he warned business owners about new paperwork related to the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP).
Sussex County has many more active flood insurance policies (20,857) than New Castle County (3,538), he said. But New Castle’s average flood insurance claims are $57,211, compared to the Sussex average of $8,628.
“Your homes are built to withstand floods. Up north, they’re not built to withstand floods,” Thomas said.
Local ordinances are keeping residents safe, he noted. He covered the recent history of the National Flood Insurance Program, which was granted permission to borrow for the U.S. Treasury after Hurricanes Katrina, Rita and Sandy, until it owed around $24 billion in 2013.
To put NFIP back on manageable levels, Congress passed the Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act of 2012. But premiums were raised too drastically — and unpopularly — for the act to survive.
Now, the Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act of 2014 is trying to slowly raise premium to a fair level for all 5.5 million policies in the U.S.
Houses that were built before 1975 are considered pre-FIRM (pre-Flood Insurance Rate Map) and have typically benefited from subsidized rates. Now, anyone whose primary residence is getting pre-FIRM subsidies can still get renewals and new policies. Grandfathering remains in effect. (Yet Thomas recommended that these people sign up for post-FIRM rates.)
Secondary residences will get no new subsidies, and renewals will reflect a 25 percent increase until they’re paying for the full flood risk, “what you should truly be paying, kind of nudging it in the right direction,” Thomas said.
Houses built post-FIRM, as well as lower-risk properties, do not get subsidized rates.
Anyone whose property was reclassified at a higher risk should be eased into higher-cost policy.
People can also take a higher risk with a $10,000 deductible, instead of a $5,000 one.
Other fees are intended to ease the NFIP back to a balanced budget.
But any non-residential buildings covered by a flood policy are treated differently. Those people are being encouraged to fill out the Non-Residential Building Use questionnaires in order to assign the appropriate rate by Nov. 1. Failure to do so will likely result in a higher rate, Thomas said.
In other town news:
• Gene Langan, newly elected council president/mayor, was away on business.
• The council discussed a proposal from the Sands Motel to lower room density requirements.
• The town council approved a new Town Hall Building Use Policy, which provides clarification on the types of groups permitted to use the facility. Instead of paying a daily fee, public-service groups would pay a single $50 annual fee that would help defray some costs of maintenance, carpet cleaning and more.
• Fenwick Island again will get a townwide 10 percent discount on flood insurance, based on the Community Rating System.
• As the Department of Natural Resources & Environmental Control prepares for public hearings in September regarding beach and shoreline regulations, Fenwick Island could see some changes, Building Official Patricia Schuchman said.
“DNREC requires that all oceanfront properties get approval from them prior to anyone else issuing a building permit. It’s always been anything east of Bunting Avenue,” Schuchman told Coastal Point. “It will now include the three properties west of Bunting Avenue. … This is something that DNREC has talked about for many years, and it looks like it may go in effect.”
• A community holiday event was approved for Friday, Dec. 11, from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. With a town sponsorship of $300, the celebration will include a tree lighting, carols and potluck-style hors d’oeuvres.
• When herbicide is placed along the roadside (to prevent weeds from overgrowing and breaking up the road), people and animals should wait about 45 to 60 minutes before walking on those areas, “so won’t come up on paws or shoes,” Public Works Supervisor Bryan Reed said.
• The Fenwick Island Police Department will soon use the Nixle electronic notification system, which is already in use in some other local towns. Residents will be notified when they can sign up online for the free emergency alerts.
• Lee asked how committees are formed (The mayor appoints a chairperson, who chooses his or her own working members. The mayor and council are asked to approve the members.)
Lee proposed that more council members be on each committee.
Discussion of the issue was to continue when Mayor Langan is present.
• The Business Development Committee meeting has been rescheduled for Sept. 24 at 2 p.m., with plans to review the results of actions made earlier this year.
• Twitter users can get regular town updates online at @IslandFenwick, which Burke said will be handy in the event of a major storm or hurricane.
• Residents are being encouraged to tell Town Hall about drainage concerns, since the Town can get matching grants to improve stormwater drainage.
• Burke thanked the staff for a great season, his fourth summer with Fenwick Island, which he said went smoothly overall.
The next regular Town Council meeting is set for Sept. 25.
The Sussex County Planning & Zoning Commission met last week to review and discuss their recommendation regarding a proposed moratorium on the County’s acceptance of special-use exception applications for off-premises signs.
The draft ordinance, which was introduced by Councilman George Cole on July 28, states that the Sussex County Council “views the placement of off-premises signs as an important public-safety issue” and believes that “the recent proliferation of off-premises signs has a detrimental effect on the safety and welfare of the citizens of Sussex County.”
If approved, the moratorium would direct the Sussex County Planning & Zoning office to decline applications for special-use exceptions for off-premises signs for a period of six months, which could be “extended, modified or terminated at any time by a majority vote” of the council.
The proposed moratorium was designed to allow the County “a reasonable time period for the review and study of off-premises signs, the preparation of proposed legislation to address resultant issues and the consideration of said legislation.”
The commission held a public hearing on the issue at its Aug. 13 meeting but deferred voting on a recommendation because two of the five members were not in attendance.
At its Aug. 27 meeting, the majority of the Planning & Zoning Commission members voiced their opposition to a moratorium.
“I just think a moratorium on signs — I don’t see where that’s needed. I think what we need to do is get an ordinance done,” said Commissioner Irwin G. “I.G.” Burton III. “I think we should put ourselves on the front burner and get an ordinance together.”
Burton suggested there should be more discussion between the Board of Adjustment and the council as to what action they were seeking.
“I don’t know that we need a moratorium. I think I could be in support of a moratorium of say, six months, if I had assurances that at the end of those six months that we would indeed have an ordinance in place,” added Commissioner Rodney Smith. “I would be aghast if I voted for a moratorium, and after five months or five months and two weeks we found that there was no forward momentum… We deal with our issues, and this sign issue is under the Board of Adjustment.”
Smith offered to represent the commission and attend a Board of Adjustment meeting to get their input about signage issues within the county.
“I would be only too happy going to make my time and energy available as a liaison of sorts to the Board of Adjustment, to attend one of their hearings and wait afterward, to listen to their concerns and bring them back to the ladies and gentlemen gathered here at the Planning & Zoning,” he said.
Planning & Zoning Director Lawrence Lank told the commission that the council began considering a moratorium following the receipt of a letter from the Board of Adjustment related to signs.
The letter to the council stated, “We request that council review this section to determine if any changes are required.”
“The intent of the council was, because of the concerns of the Board,” said Lank, “was to create a moratorium that would allow for the board, the commission and the council and some interested parties … to sit down with the team of council and staff to resolve the sign issues so we could prepare an ordinance.”
“I think the Board of Adjustment wrote a very thoughtful and measured letter about their concerns regarding the off-premises signs,” said Commissioner Martin L. Ross.
“The purpose of the moratorium is to put something on hold because there is a rash of consequence. In this case, this ordinance was announced, that we were considering a moratorium. Typically, if there was some kind of a crisis, there would be a line out of the office, all the way out to the Circle, of applicants trying to beat the action of the moratorium,” Ross said.
“But there is no line, there is no queue of off-premises billboards. Things are very normal, so I really don’t see what a moratorium is going to get us. I think we’re better off, as Mr. Burton and Mr. Smith have stated, to roll up our shirt sleeves and try to address issues the Board of Adjustment so thoughtfully raised.”
Commission Chairman Robert C. Wheatley agreed with his colleagues that a moratorium did not seem to be the best approach.
“I think a moratorium creates undue pressure. I think it would be more difficult to reach a reasonable ordinance to answer all the concerns… I think we should proceed posthaste and act on the concerns that the Board of Adjustment did very ably outline for council, and let’s get it done.”
The Commission voted 4-0 to recommend Sussex County Council not establish a moratorium on the acceptance of special-use exception applications for off-premises signs, with Commissioner Michael B. Johnson abstaining from the discussion and vote.
The recommendation now goes back before the council, which will meet on Tuesday, Sept. 15, at 10 a.m.
“Girl Friday to work for newspaper man,” read the ad that Jean Rickard responded to while studying to be a teacher at George Washington University.
“I was moving out of the house and needed a place to live, but I couldn’t do it unless I had a job. I was going to be a teacher… This was my senior year,” recalled Rickard. “I was doing my student-teaching from 8 to 12, and I saw this job from 12:30 to 6:30. I thought, ‘Wow, I have classes that begin at 7. Perfect.’”
Little did Rickard know, she was applying to be the secretary for Herb Block, the Pulitzer Prize-winning editorial cartoonist.
“That’s how I got the job.”
Rickard graduated the following summer and was set to teach at an area school, but Block was not ready to let her go.
“I was leaving and he said, ‘You can’t leave,’” she recalled. “He literally got down on his hands and knees and begged me not to leave. He said, ‘Jean, you can’t leave me like this. You just can’t.’”
Rickard stayed on to work for Block for more than 40 years, although she left for a short time to have her children.
“A very generous, kind and wonderful man,” she said of her former boss.
Although Block lived in Washington, D.C., he also owned a vacation home on Atlantic Avenue in Bethany Beach in 1971. When he passed away in 2001, he left the home to Rickard.
“We used to bring him here. We were kind of his family — my husband and I, and I have two children,” said Rickard, who is the home’s third owner. “He treated my kids as if they were his grandchildren. He was just so good to all of us.”
When Block passed, he also left $50 million, with instructions to create a foundation to, according to its website, “encourage the art of editorial cartooning and to support charitable and educational programs that help promote and support the causes he championed during his 72 years of cartooning. The Foundation is committed to defending basic freedoms, combating all forms of discrimination and prejudice and improving the condition of the poor and underprivileged.”
“Obviously, he lived very humbly and left us a pile of money to start a foundation,” said Rickard, who serves as executive director emerita and vice president of the foundation. “Thirteen years later, we have more than we started with, and I think we’ve given away about $14 million. We are trying to do with his money what he did with his cartoons.”
This year, the foundation is a platinum sponsor for Operation SEAs the Day — a nonprofit that organizes a beach-week event in Bethany Beach for military service members and veterans who are recovering from injuries sustained while serving the country, and their families.
This year, Warrior Beach Week will be held Sept. 8-13 and will welcome 30 families and two alumni families.
“We talk about it in every board meeting,” said Rickard of Operation SEAs the Day.
Rickard heard of Operation SEAs the Day after reading a Washington Post article in 2013, after the inaugural beach week, and knew she wanted to get involved.
“I said, ‘But why didn’t I know about this?’ I was so mad! I really was so mad,” she said. “Everything about it just grabbed me. I come from a military family — my grandfather, two brothers, a nephew and a great nephew now. So, the military is very dear to me. I’ve been supporting the Wounded Warrior Project for a very long time.”
After learning about Warrior Beach Week, she called her longtime friend Mary Beth Murray and asked her to find out how she could get involved. Since then, Rickard has donated money to the organization and has offered up her beachfront home to the warrior families.
During Warrior Beach Week, Murray serves as host to the family that stays in Rickard’s home.
“To me, doing what we did was a wonderful healing process, not only for me hosting them, but for [Jean] as the owner. It heals everyone. It brings happiness to everyone,” she said.
This year, a Pennsylvania couple and their three young kids will be staying at Rickard’s home during Warrior Beach Week. To prepare, Rickard and Murray put together gift bags for the family that include beach towels, books and jars of seashells.
The families who stay at Rickard’s home also receive a book that contains a letter from Rickard, information about Bethany Beach, and letters to the warrior and their family, thanking them for their service.
“Everyone who stays at this house or has visited this house writes a letter,” said Rickard, pointing at a letter written by her 2-and-a-half-year-old great nephew. “I thought, ‘This means so much to me. I want to tell them how much I appreciate what they do.’”
The warrior whose family will stay at the home suffers from PTSD and a brain injury, as well as missing part of his tricep and right leg.
“I’m really excited about them. They look like such a nice couple,” Rickard said.
Last year, Rickard was able to meet the couple who stayed at her home during beach week.
“They were coming from Santa Fe, and they flew into Washington to do some sightseeing… So I emailed and asked if they would come over for dinner, and they did,” she said, adding that her family hosted them at a barbecue.
Rickard said she’s thrilled to be a part of Operation SEAs the Day.
“I just think this is such a great project. I hope it goes on forever,” she said. Of Block, who served in the U.S. Army from 1943 to 1946, she added, “He would be so thrilled about his house being used in this Warrior Week.”
She noted that she’s left instructions to ensure that the house will continue to be used for Warrior Beach Week for years to come.
“My son was in the Air Force,” said Rickard. “He said, ‘Don’t worry, this will go on forever and ever as long as I’m alive.’”
Annette Reeping of Operation SEAs the Day visited Rickard last week to thank her for her support of the organization and to present her with a print of a painting she created, titled “Honor,” of the silhouette of a soldier saluting the American flag.
The soldier is Reeping’s nephew Keith Dominic, who was stationed in Al Asad, Iraq.
“It was Memorial Day morning. He got up as the sun was rising and saluted the flag. Well, another soldier came up behind him and took his photograph,” she said. “I always loved that photograph…”
In retirement, Reeping took up painting and recreated the memorable image as a gift for her nephew. She made a print for herself and, later, after reading a poem written by one of the Operation SEAs the Day alumni warriors, paired the two together.
“It is this moment of dedication, service, love of country and honor of the U.S. flag that has been captured. The painting ‘Honor’ depicts any soldier that proudly defends our nation, giving us our peaceful way of life.
“The Dan Dorf poem added to the print captures the tremendous positive effect Bethany Beach Warrior Beach Week has created. The print captures honor of country, as well as honor of Wounded Warrior families shown by the American community.”
Reeping said the organization received a letter from the Wounded Warrior Project stating that, even in its fledgling years, beach week has already made an impact.
“They’re seeing long-term positive impact, including that the caregivers are in touch with each other. And they’re seeing some recovery from the wounded warriors that seems to be lasting.
“We have statistics that say we’ve touched over 300 people already, when you include spouses, children, aunts, uncles, parents of wounded warriors. It’s really a very simple thing in many ways. It’s a simple thing in that you bring them to Bethany Beach to enjoy all the amenities that we live with every day. And we thank them and appreciate them for the way of life we live.”
“What I saw from … that family last year, what came out of it, the progress they’ve made… it’s just unbelievable,” added Murray.
For more information about Operation SEAs the Day, visit www.OperationSEAstheDay.org.
Last year, local Realtor Allison Stine decided to organize a car show at Cripple Creek Golf & Country Club to support Operation SEAs the Day, a local nonprofit whose mission is to “organize and facilitate a beach week event for our wounded soldiers and their families as a means of showing our appreciation for their service and sacrifice.
“It is our hope that such a community-based gesture of support will be comforting and help ease their transition back into civilian life,” organizers said.
“The first year of the Warrior Beach Week, I was not familiar with the event at all, and it sort of came and went,” recalled Stine. “It was completely off my radar screen until after the event. My friend Don Summerville, who is very involved with Operation SEAs the Day, told me all about it,” she said.
“I’m a car enthusiast, and I wanted to get involved in some way beyond just donating my Sea Colony condo or something. I wanted to find a way to raise more money. I have experience in organizing car shows. So I thought it would be a great opportunity to raise money for the organization.”
This year, Warrior Beach Week will take place Sept. 8-13. More than two dozen Wounded Warriors and their families will be provided with a worry-free beach vacation in Bethany Beach, which includes fun outings, such as boating and golf.
The car show, which takes place on Sept. 12, during Warrior Beach Week, offers day-of registration beginning at 9 a.m. and costs $15, which includes lunch. Judging begins at 11 a.m. The awards ceremony will take place at 1 p.m. Stine said that all spectators are admitted to the show free of charge.
“Last year, we were expecting about 40 cars, and we had 125 cars,” said Stine. “Between the two organizations — Operation SEAs the Day and Wounded Warrior Project — we donated a little over $6,000. The spectator attendance was overwhelming, truly.”
A golf cart shuttle service will be provided throughout the day for spectators driving in to see the show.
Stine said the show has had a great deal of support from the community and she hopes it will continue to grow.
“We had overwhelming support from within the community itself. Then we had people from the real estate community, people from surrounding neighborhoods, members from committees from Operation SEAs the Day. The spectators were amazing.
“Last year, there was an impromptu golf tournament, a lot of the regular Saturday-morning golfers led by Don Antonucci — he passed the hat and raised over $2,000 on the golf course. It was amazing. This year, they organized, and the entry into the golf tournament is a donation to Operation SEAs the Day. The golfers were so generous — it was unbelievable.”
This year’s event sponsors are the Coastal Point, the Law Offices of Scott & Shuman PA. the Jeff Baxter Mortgage Team and the Allison Stine Team of Long and Foster Real Estate.
During the show, each sponsor will get to name their pick among the entered vehicles to award a Best in Show trophy.
“In addition to that, we’ll have celebrity picks. We’re expecting Rep. Ron Gray. We’re hopeful that Sen. Gerald Hocker will be able to attend. We have a celebrity guest [Tom Haug] who was the announcer for the Cecil County Dragway in the late ’60s, who will be on hand to choose a car.
“This year, there will be two Wounded Warrior participants from the Warrior Beach Week who will be on hand to choose overall Best in Show. We’ve added two new categories that will be chosen by the show organizers. Then, the Cripple Creek club president will have a pick, as well.”
During the day, volunteers from Operation SEAs the Day will also be selling apparel to raise additional funds for the organization.
Stine said she hopes to have 150 cars in the show this year, which will include her own 2014 Chevy Camaro RS 323 hp.
“We have over 30 cars already preregistered for the show, which is pretty amazing because car shows are weather-driven. The vast majority of the people who attend car shows do not preregister, because they wait to see what the weather is going to be like. So, to have that number of preregistrations already is amazing. It’s a good indication that the turnout is going to be very good this year.”
The community’s support of the car show has been amazing, for which Stine said she is thankful.
“I just want to emphasize how grateful we are for all the volunteers who show up and help us on the day of the show. It’s a really big deal,” she said. “There are only two of us who organize this event overall. To have so many people working and helping on the day of the show is just overwhelming.
“This year, my phone rang off the hook with people offering to volunteer. Even members of my car club, the Delaware Valley Camero Club, they send a big contingent of members all the way from Wilmington to help pull off the event the day of the show. It’s really amazing.”
For more information about the show or to learn how to become a sponsor, contact Allison Stine at (302) 381-5565 or email Allison@allisonstine.com. For more information about Operation SEAs the Day, and Warrior Beach Week, visit www.operationseastheday.org.
Next week, 30 wounded warriors and their families will travel from all over the country to visit Bethany Beach, thanks to Operation SEAs the Day.
The nonprofit organization that was created to “organize and facilitate a beach week event for our wounded soldiers and their families as a means of showing our appreciation for their service and sacrifice.”
Warrior Beach Week will be held Sept. 8-13 and gives the wounded warriors and their families a time to relax as a family, without a focus on any of their injuries.
Each family will stay in a home in Bethany Beach that is donated for the week and be provided with a volunteer host, who will help, if desired by the family, with anything from giving directions to making suggestions as to what to enjoy while they’re in the area.
Along with the 30 wounded warrior families, two alumni families from Warrior Beach Week last year will be returning to offer assistance to the families.
Throughout the week, the “Very Important Families” (VIFs) will get to enjoy a welcoming reception at Ocean View VFW Post #7234, as well as a bonfire and cookout, and a family night.
Families will get to choose what activities they participate in, and are given the opportunity to golf, fish, have a spa day or just relax — all free of charge. With more than 100 sponsors, the events’ supporters even donate items to the VIFs, from gift cards to a free meal in their restaurants.
A special event this year will be dinner and a concert at the Freeman Stage at Bayside on Sept. 11, with the patriotic concert performed by Aaron Tippin. Just as the community rallied last year, this year, organizers hope that visitors and locals will line the streets for a “Heroes’ Welcome.”
Rosely Robinson of A Hero’s Welcome’s Delaware Chapter became involved in Operation SEAs the Day in 2013, after hearing what the organization was trying to accomplish.
“I’m with A Hero’s Welcome, out of New Castle County,” she explained. “We go to the airports and send off the military. We also welcome them home… We are very involved with the soldiers here in Delaware.
“So when I became involved in Operation SEAs the Day the second year, I asked if they would allow me to do an escort. That’s when we took them from Bethany in school buses down to the Freeman Stage.”
When the VIFs traveled to their first Freeman Stage concert, the route from the Sea Colony Marketplace to the entrance of the stage was lined with handmade patriotic posters and people, decked out in red, white and blue, who were waving flags and cheering.
“We do something similar upstate for returning soldiers,” said Robinson of the welcome. “It turned out better than I thought it was going to be.”
Last year, Robinson put the Heroes’ Welcome together in just five days. This time, she’s had a year to plan it.
“This year is going to be even bigger, because I’ve got a lot more people involved,” she said, noting that antique cars, 33 Jeeps and eight different motorcycle clubs will be coming to lead the buses of VIFs to the Freeman Stage.
“There are some people coming all the way from Pottstown. They’re riding their bikes just for the day, and then they’re heading back that night. There are people travelling just to do this. Almost all of those guys are veterans themselves. It should be a lot of fun.”
Law enforcement officers from the Delaware State Police and Bethany Beach, Ocean View, South Bethany, Fenwick Island and Selbyville police departments will also join the motorcade, as will members of the Bethany Beach, Millville, Frankford and Roxana volunteer fire companies.
“The law enforcement in all of these towns couldn’t be any better. They really get into it. We can’t thank them enough.”
Tippin himself will be leading the motorcade to the Freeman Stage, which Robinson said is very exciting.
“I just found out that one of the motorcycle clubs will be giving Aaron Tippin an honorary vest. That should be really, really neat,” she added.
As for the welcome signs, Robinson said they have been getting made by visitors (some from as far away as Canada and Israel) and community members since June.
“We’ve made 200 of them,” she said. “When we told them what it was all about… they were just so happy to do it.”
Along with their sign station at the Bethany Beach Farmers’ Market, Operation SEAs the Day also had posters made by children at the South Coastal Library and Lord Baltimore Elementary School.
“They did an awesome job,” she said of the children. “Lord Baltimore is the No. 1 school in the state of Delaware that writes letters constantly to our military. They really do a nice job.”
Following a farewell breakfast, the VIFs will be able to take home one of the 200 signs with their special messages of thanks.
“At the end of the week, each one of the veteran families can pick a sign and take it home, which is really neat. Some of them even framed them last year,” said Robinson, adding of the sign-makers, “They just didn’t write something fast. They really thought about what we were doing and what they wanted to say to these veterans. It was great.
“There were little ones. There were families who did a whole poster together. There were teenagers who did their own. Some people took them home and then brought them back.”
Robinson said the Heroes’ Welcome was an emotional experience for the VIFs and those participating, noting that many tears were shed.
“Some of them said it was bigger than a presidential parade. They were just so happy.”
Robinson herself, who was born and raised in Brazil but moved to the United States when she was 13, said it is important to her to honor her country’s military, be it through Operation SEAs the Day, Wreaths Across America or Stockings for Soldiers.
“I just love what I do. I wasn’t born in this country. I became a citizen when I was 20 years old. I just love do what I do — honoring our military.”
Robinson said being involved in something like Operation SEAs the Day allows her to pay it forward for those who have sacrificed so much for other people’s daily freedoms.
“The new VIFs coming this year — I hope they get the same feeling, the welcome they deserve for their sacrifice. I think the week is something that they’ll remember forever.”
For more information about Operation SEAstheDay, visit www.OperationSEAstheDay.org.
The Seaford Chapter of Sussex County Action Prevention Coalition (SCAPC) held its monthly meeting this week, continuing to try to attack the area’s drug problems from various angles.
SCAPC is a nonprofit organization with the mission “to help individuals and families who are struggling with addictions, substance abuse and other life-related problems get the help they need through collaborating community resources and services, and coordinating opportunities that promotes positive choices that lead to healthy lifestyles and wholeness.”
Kathryn A. Keating Hudson, program coordinator from Nanticoke Memorial Hospital in Seaford, spoke to the group about what her hospital has seen when it comes to patients dealing with addiction.
Hudson said the stigma surrounding addiction needs to be addressed by people having open discussions.
“It’s all about education. It’s an addiction, like nicotine, caffeine, everything else. We’re the ones who put the stigma on it — the public does,” she said. “I thank people — when they’re honest with me about their drug history, I thank them. It’s so much easier to treat them.”
Hudson, who has been a nurse for 21 years, with 18 years spent at Nanticoke, said that from Jan. 1 to June 30 of this year, their emergency room saw 19,990 patients.
“Out of that, we had 159 patients that tested positive or admitted to using heroin,” she said. “Is that an exact number? It’s not.”
Hudson said the most common age range for heroin use was 20 to 40 years old. The youngest heroin-using patient on record for that period of time was 16, with the oldest being 68.
“They were one of our heroin saves,” she said of the 68-year-old. “They came in as a heroin overdose in respiratory failure.
“We saw six pregnant women who had heroin in their system. We saw 28 heroin overdoses and one death. We were averaging 4.7 overdoses a month. Again, that’s if we’re getting all the correct information, and we know we’re not. We’re mostly likely seeing more than that.”
Common complaints from heroin users include skin abscesses or cellulitis. Hudson said that is due to their injection sites becoming infected.
“Some are septic because of these skin infection.”
Hudson said common areas of injection are between the toes and fingers, under the nails and the antecubital spaces of the arms (the inside of the elbow).
“If it’s around the joint, you can get infections in the joint. They are a higher priority for us because they can become septic quickly,” she said. “A lot of times when they come in with respiratory complaints, usually we have the story. It’s because someone has found them, there’s a needle present, a tourniquet or there’s heroin. Those are not us guessing… that is from what they see at the scene.”
Many of the patients use more than one drug — the most common in the charts Hudson reviewed was marijuana; however, some were also using cocaine and amphetamines.
“When going through withdrawal, they’re suicidal, they want to die. This is when they hit rock bottom. I’ve had 22-year-olds sit in my triage chair, and they’re devastated. They know that their lives have changed. These people basically come to us with nothing left.”
The average dosage of heroin their patients admitted to using was three bags at one time.
“We had a patient who said 13, 14, 15 bags a day. That’s a lot of drugs.”
Common medical conditions seen in heroin users include anxiety, depression, MRSA (drug-resistant staph infections) and HIV/AIDS.
“A lot of 20-year-olds are walking around with hepatitis C, and it’s all from IV drug use.”
As a healthcare professional, Hudson said, it’s frustrating to see patients who don’t seem to grasp the seriousness of their addition after their lives have been saved following an opiate overdose.
“We are pulling these kids out of the car; they’re not breathing — they’re purple, their families are telling us they’re dead. They have no pulse. The first thing we’re doing is having to give them the Narcan,” she said of naloxone, an opioid receptor antagonist, which can help counteract the effects of a heroin overdose. “Sometimes it reverses it the first time, and sometimes we have to give more than one dose, depending on the amount of heroin they used.
“But it’s frustrating, because once they come around, if their friends are with them or they’re over the age of 18, we cannot contact family members. So it becomes a joke. They survived it. It’s not a big deal. ‘Why are we so upset about it?’ ... It becomes the selfie picture [moment]. So the seriousness of the situation is lost by the time they leave.”
Hudson said the addiction also affects friends and family members in varying ways.
“We do have some family members that are angry and just don’t know what else to do… Some families are embarrassed, or they’re in denial. They don’t want to admit it — they’re going to pretend it’s not a problem.”
Dr. Edward McDonough, assistant medical examiner for the State of Delaware, also spoke briefly at the meeting.
“Anybody in healthcare has seen the waxing and waning of different types of drugs that are on the streets and coming out of pharmacies and doctors’ offices,” he said. “Currently, heroin is the drug of choice for several different reasons… Heroin is cheap. Heroin is plentiful.”
He said that those struggling with addiction never know what kind of craving they’ll have on a day-to-day basis.
“You don’t know… ‘Am I going to use one bag today? Am I going to use two bags today, four bags today?’”
He spoke briefly about naloxone and its ability to reverse an overdose, talking about how easily an overdose can happen.
“First you fall asleep, and then you stop breathing. It’s not dissimilar to alcohol.”
Asked about any side effects that may be caused by the antagonist, he said, “There may be adverse effects from any medication given. This is pretty safe, given the alternative.”
Jim Martin, chairperson of SCAPC Seaford, encouraged those in attendance to make noise about the addiction issues plaguing their communities.
“It really is a community grassroots effort,” he said. “Call your state senator, call your state representative. Tell them that you’re involved in the coalition. If you reach out to them… let them know that you exist and that you’re out there.”
The louder they are, he said, the more people will hear and help make a difference.
“Let people know there is a caring group.”
The next SCAPC meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, Oct. 6, at 10 a.m. at the Stein Highway Church of God’s Lighted Pathway Family Life Center, located at 425 E. Stein Highway in Seaford. All are encouraged to attend. To learn more about SCAPC, visit https://www.facebook.com/pages/Sussex-County-Action-Prevention-Coalition....
For more than 60 years, the Sands Motel in Fenwick Island has operated with fewer than 40 rooms. The current town code prevents new owner Spiro Buas from rebuilding a hotel with more than 39 rooms, which is a third less than the other hotels in town.
Buas is requesting that the Town significantly reduce the density limit so he can build a comparable motel.
According to the Town’s commercial zoning code, any hotel/motel can only provide one sleeping room per 1,000 square feet of land. So the Sands’ 39,000-square-foot lot only allows for 39 rooms.
However, in today’s market, the 39-room restriction is not marketable, Buas told the town council on Aug. 28. He said he hopes to rebuild the motel, which he just purchased this season, as “a newer-style hotel, a little larger and nicer.”
He is requesting to be allowed at least one room per 500 square feet, which would provide him about 75 rooms.
The Charter & Ordinance Committee, after its fourth meeting on the topic, on Sept. 1, is forwarding a recommendation to the town council a recommended requirement of 550 to 600 feet per room.
Councilmember Bill Weistling stated that he preferred a limit that would put the motel in the 65-room range, saying it’s only fair for the Sands, or any hotel, to have a density comparable to the others.
Comparing apples to apples
According to the committee, the Seaside Inn has 61 rooms on 39,000 square feet, and the Fenwick Islander has 62 rooms on 22,500 feet. Those buildings average one room per 639 and 362 square feet, respectively.
When they were built, there was no density limit for hotels. After those hotels were built, in 1985 and 1986, a new 1,000-square-foot density ordinance went into effect. (The Town staff tried unsuccessfully to find minutes from those meetings, so Weistling said they can only assume that change was made in response to the new construction of that time.)
Buas said he needs at least 65 rooms to make the building attractive to a potential hotel chain, upon which he could piggyback marketing and reservations. If he went the franchise route, he would have the option to remain a very hands-on owner, or hire a management firm. He said he envisions a three-story complex with ground-level parking.
“So I’m looking for everybody’s support,” Buas said, recognizing the quiet, family-friendly atmosphere of town. “But as you can probably see, in the few months I’ve had it, the demeanor’s already changed.”
There is a demand for rooms besides the rental house market, Buas said.
The people who already have houses
But some residents on Aug. 28 countered that the beach and roads in Fenwick are already crowded. As for community problems, Weistling said hotels have low noise, parking and trash problems, compared with restaurants.
People also warned against the town council granting concessions to the developer, but Weistling said there have been no requests yet for fee waivers. He said he wanted to give a fair option to Buas, since something far less desirable could be proposed at that property a year from now.
Councilman Roy Williams (and other residents) suggested that Buas knew at the time exactly what he was buying and made no requests then.
“If you change this ordinance, what is this going to do to the town? Are we opening up more doors to expansion?” said Williams, who added that he was “against changing this at all.”
As a council member, Diane Tingle said she had to consider how much money the motel could bring to town, which Buas said could be considerable, although she later clarified on Sept. 1 that taxes weren’t her sole concern. She said the town currently has 12 empty storefronts and about as many restaurants.
Treading carefully and planning for the future
Although the Town has successfully controlled gaudiness in town, committee member Ben Waide pointed out that there are now some empty and embarrassingly old buildings.
Town Manager Merritt Burke read from the Town’s 2007 Comprehensive Plan, which states, “The economy of resort communities is dependent on the quality of their bed base, or accommodations. The town has three hotel/motels … with a total of 159 rooms. The hotel/motels offer mid-priced accommodations at less than $200/night during the peak season. There is mixed opinion in town regarding the importance of maintaining or expanding upon the present bed base.”
But public input on the plan made it clear that people want to keep the “Quiet Resort” mentality of Fenwick Island, Burke said. “I think there always has been and needs to be [balance] to keep that ‘Quiet Resort’ mentality and to raise the income … to balance the budget.”
Tingle suggested the proposed upgrades could prevent a rough crowd from frequenting the motel, which she said has housed felons and thieves who stole from the nearby Chamber of Commerce.
“We don’t want those people around,” Tingle said.
Resident Bill Mould’s home abuts the property. He said he’s seen the deterioration of the motel but favors some restrictions on the proposed upgrades.
“I would like the committee to have a definitive number of rooms that would be allowed in the hotel. I’m not too concerned about the square footage. I am concerned about the number of rooms,” Mould said.
“This is not about one motel, but potentially four or six motels that could be fit onto Route 1,” Councilwoman Julie Lee said on Aug. 28, and Williams agreed.
But there is no other place to fit a profitable hotel in town, except a particular bank lot, Tingle said on Sept. 1.
“If you’re going to make a change, you have to assume the worst,” countered resident Pete Frederick, suggesting that current strip malls could be razed to make room for more hotels. “There’s got to be a way to limit future growth. That is a concern.” (Bethany Beach recently addressed this issue by designating a commercial-lodging zone with its own zoning regulations, including parking requirements and density limits.)
Frederick said he didn’t want Fenwick to become an extension of Ocean City, Md.
He also suggested that state law would requires 75 percent of the town council membership to approve a density change measure, if the measure is opposed by at least 20 percent of owners within a certain radius of the affected commercial zone.
Weistling said he would research that with the town solicitor.
Resident Phil Craig said he’d heard a rumor about a council member knocking on doors to ask people about the future of the Sands lot, using hypotheticals mentioned at a previous committee meeting.
“You’re referring to me,” Williams said. “I did it for myself. Being a member of council, I want to know how people felt.”
Committee member Winnie Lewis also spoke, taking exception to what she’d heard about allowing more newcomers into town.
“I’ve lived here longer than anyone here today,” Lewis said. “The town was not founded on arguing. It was founded on being a good neighbor. …We have to work together. This man has an opportunity to do something for this town.”
While many opponents of a quick zoning change stated how long they’ve lived in town, Lewis continued, “You all mentioned how long you’ve been here. …We let you all come here. I’m glad you’ve enjoyed it.”
Waide said he didn’t care that Buas had known what he was buying, since he is trying to do what a businessman is supposed to: make it better.
“He knew what he bought. And I bet you he can continue to make money at 39 rooms because he’s managing it well,” Waide said. “We are doing it for the reason, which we think is the proper reason for this committee,” he said, which is to improve the town.
Some residents favored a moratorium on future hotel building, or limiting the town to three hotels. But the suggestion did not gain traction within the committee.
“You bought the lot,” resident Richard Klein told Buas. “At that time, the lot was 39 rooms, and that was the restriction. Why would you do that if you had to make major concessions?”
“My reason and my profitability I’d like to keep to myself. That’s my business,” Buas said.
Ultimately, he said, he’d like to begin planning a new design. Otherwise, the Sands will remain as is.
The town council may discuss the zoning proposal at their regular monthly meeting on Sept. 25. If a second reading is approved, a public hearing could be held in October.
Coincidently, planning for the 10-year Comprehensive Plan update will begin at a working session on Sept. 15 at 2:30 p.m.
The annual Bethany Beach Jazz Funeral is a time-honored Labor Day tradition, but its significance depends on your point of view.
A tongue-in-cheek “celebration” of the end of summer, it was started by local business owner Moss Wagner as a way for businesspeople to blow off steam at the end of the hectic summer season.
For many spectators, it’s a bittersweet goodbye to summer fun — and the traffic that goes with it. Parents standing along the boardwalk with their kids are most likely thinking about last-minute back-to-school preparations while straining to hear the first somber notes of “Amazing Grace.”
By the time the band swings into “When the Saints Go Marching In,” the party mood has set in and spectators have often joined the throng of mourners making its way to the Bethany Beach bandstand.
The Jazz Funeral will once again begin its quirky procession on the boardwalk at 2nd Street about 5:30 p.m. and will proceed at a respectfully mournful pace toward the bandstand, where the casket bearing the faux-corpse of Summer 2015 will be briefly eulogized and the musicians will lead the assembled mourners in a heartfelt rendition of “God Bless America” before disbanding for another year.
Three bands — the Dixie Cats, the Downtown Dixieland Band and the Jazz Funeral Irregulars — combine each year to bring the musical tribute to life.
One musician — clarinet player Joe Strawley, 60, of Dagsboro — described the event as “unique” and added that he has been a participant for at least 20 years, since being asked to join by business owner Wagner, who now lives in Colorado.
“It’s the last blowout before the season ends,” Strawley said.
While the Jazz Funeral takes its cue from those colorful New Orleans celebrations of late loved-ones lives, the marchers take it to its campy extremes, donning costumes and weeping and wailing up a storm.
“We try to be entertaining,” Strawley said.
The former Navy musician said the band is often graced with members who are professional musicians, including his brother, Richard Strawley, a member of the Richmond Symphony in Virginia.
In recent years, the Jazz Funeral has expanded its scope to include a fundraiser for local charities. For the 10th year in a row, Bethany Blues restaurant at 6 N. Pennsylvania Avenue will host the Jazz Funeral Silent Auction. This year’s auction will be held from 3:15 to 4:45 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 4, kicking off the Labor Day weekend festivities.
The silent auction features an array of goods and services from local businesses, according to Marie Wright, co-assistant chairperson of this year’s Jazz Funeral events, along with Carolyn Bacon.
“Just to name a few, there are gift certificates from some of the finest local restaurants, various bottles of wine contributed by local wine shops, hard-to-find toys and games, beautiful home accessories, very trendy clothing, exciting gift baskets and lots more,” Wright said.
“Absolutely all funds raised by the Bethany Beach Jazz Funeral Silent Auction will go directly to the American Red Cross of Delmarva to help support local initiatives,” said Wright. “We want to help improve the health and wellbeing of families in the greater coastal areas by supporting the American Red Cross.”
One program benefitting local families seeks to reduce the number of house fires in high-risk areas. The Red Cross has held a number of related events, including distribution of smoke alarms and informative programs aimed at increasing education about fire hazards, according to Red Cross of Delmarva Executive Director Patrick K. Delaney.
The official Jazz Funeral host for 2015 is Liane Hansen, a broadcast professional who is known to many as a radio host for National Public Radio (NPR). Hansen will introduce guest speakers, including a representative from the American Red Cross of Delmarva.
Art Antal, the late Bethany Beach business owner and longtime Jazz Funeral chairperson, seemed to understand the diverse appeal of Bethany’s end-of-summer tradition. He not only encouraged all tourists and vacationers to stay around to witness the end of the traditional summer season by attending the Funeral, he also realized that locals would breathe a sigh of relief that the summer season had finally drawn to a close and they could have their town back once again.
“The Bethany Beach Jazz Funeral is a fitting event where both locals and tourists alike can celebrate the end of another summer season,” Antal once said. “However, both groups celebrate for entirely different reasons.”
While Labor Day might be the end of the not-so-lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer for local businesspeople, it’s not the “roll-up the sidewalks” kind of day it used to be, according to one longtime Jazz Funeral participant. Patsy Rankin of Patsy’s restaurant in Bethany Beach said she can’t even find the time to participate these days.
“I don’t even walk anymore. I’m too busy!” Rankin said. She recalled one recent year when she got back to her restaurant after the festivities to find “people were banging on the door,” waiting for her to reopen.
So long, Summer 2015 — bring on the “shoulder season.”
The Delaware Department of Transportation (DelDOT) announced this week that daily lane closures on the Route 26 Mainline Improvement Project will resume on Tuesday, Sept. 8, earlier than originally announced.
DelDOT officials said motorists should anticipate daily lane closures from Monday through Thursday between 9 a.m. and 8 a.m. the following morning. Lane closures will not occur on Fridays, Saturdays or Sundays until at least Oct. 1.
“In an effort to continue to progress the project towards the completion date in September of 2016, DelDOT has concluded that it will be in the best interest of the project, road users and the community to implement daytime lane closures during the weekday to maintain project progress while minimizing as much as possible impacts to motorists and the community,” officials said.
The Delaware State Police this week were continuing to investigate an incident in which a 2-year-old child was believed to have been accidentally shot by her father at their home just outside of Ocean View over the weekend.
Around 1 a.m. on Sunday, Aug. 30, police said, emergency services were dispatched to a home located on Muddy Neck Road, following a 911 call stating a child had been shot.
Local police from Ocean View, Bethany Beach and South Bethany all responded to the call, and it was determined that the father of the girl had allegedly shot his 2-year-old daughter in the left leg while he was showing his wife a gun he had just borrowed.
“It’s just a tragedy,” said Ocean View Police Chief Ken McLaughlin of the incident, noting the child sustained a “traumatic wound.”
The closest agency, Ocean View Police Department, was first on the scene with their K9 team and another officer. Law enforcement was able to secure the home and took Jenkins into custody without incident.
According to the DSP, a burglary report had been taken around 9 p.m. on Saturday evening from Jenkins and his wife, in which he reported that his shotgun and some cash had been stolen from their house.
After troopers departed the home, Jenkins reportedly left and went to a friend’s home, where he obtained a .40 caliber handgun, which McLaughlin said is, “probably the most popular caliber for law-enforcement agencies.”
He reportedly returned to the residence around 1 a.m. and, upon entering, his wife woke up from sleeping on the floor in the living room.
According to police, the couple’s three children — two girls, ages 2 and 6, and their 10-year-old son — were all asleep on a sofa nearby when Jenkins sat on the floor next to his wife to show her the gun.
As Jenkins pulled back on the slide of the gun and let it go, police said, a bullet fired and struck the 2-year-old in the leg.
The mother immediately contacted 911, and EMS and Delaware State Police Aviation’s Trooper 2 arrived to transport the young girl to A.I. DuPont Hospital, where she was being treated for the wound this week.
“We’re lucky we have a trauma center like A.I. DuPont, that specializes in injuries to children, relatively close, especially by helicopter,” said McLaughlin.
“It was another example of a multi-jurisdictional response to a critical incident,” he added. “The helicopter just happened to be nearby. I’ve been there for a chase in the Georgetown area, and they were able to quickly divert. They were here literally in minutes… Because a lot of the safety regulations, it’s not unusual for the helicopter to be down just due to weather conditions.
“The paramedics recently relocated to Beaver Dam Road, which is right around the corner, so their response was expedited. Millville paramedics, the minute they got the word, they were in the ambulance and on the road.”
McLaughlin said that Millville Volunteer Fire Company paramedics arrived on the scene so early that they were able to stage their response before getting the police go-ahead to enter the home.
“I was told they only had to wait two or three minutes before they got the green light to go ahead and go, go, go,” he said. “It was a big group effort. The moon and the stars were truly aligned, because that was a very, very serious injury to the baby.”
McLaughlin said he was thankful his officers had good training and were able to respond promptly and efficiently to the emergency call.
“We get beat up for the amount of training we do, but you never know where you’re going to be,” he explained. “It turned out this time it was OK. We did the Tactical Combat Casualty Care training, and lo and behold we’re using that training. We weren’t expecting to use it on a 2-year-old, but we’re using it. The same with the tactical training with the dog. We have an incident over there — we have a guy and a gun, and someone’s shot. People don’t understand there’s stress going into a scene like that.”
As to homeowner gun safety, McLaughlin said, “Obviously, some safety protocols were violated.”
“Firearms are very dangerous in untrained hands,” said OVPD Cpl. Rhys Bradshaw.
“One of the tenets of firearm safety is ‘Don’t point your gun at anything you aren’t willing to shoot,’” he said. “Even if there’s an accidental discharge, if it’s pointed in a safe direction, worst-case scenario, it’s a hole in the ceiling or a hole in the floor. You can patch a hole.”
Jenkins was charged with Assault 1st, a Class B felony, (punishable by two to 25 years in prison), Possession of a Firearm during the Commission of a Felony and three counts of Endangering the Welfare of a Child. He was committed to Sussex Correctional Institution in lieu of $41,500 secured bond.
An official update on the child’s condition could not be obtained before Coastal Point’s Wednesday press deadline.
Ocean View resident Luca Donoto recently turned 7. But Donato — a fan of Star Wars, Godzilla and soccer — decided to forgo receiving birthday presents at his party, and instead have his guests donate food for a local food pantry.
“I wanted to do it for my birthday. I also wanted to do it for the kids who don’t have food and they need some food to eat,” said Donato.
This was the second year Donato chose to collect donations rather than receive birthday gifts. Last year, he collected items for Cats Around Town, a local organization from which the family’s two cats were adopted. Birthday party guests brought donated cat food, cat litter and other kitty-related goodies that were then delivered to the organization.
“I just wanted to do something new,” said Donato of choosing to donate to a local food pantry. “Like, a cat is an animal and a person is something else.”
Donato collected a large box of nonperishable items, including pasta, peanut butter and applesauce and donated it to his church, St. Peter’s Episcopal Church.
“We picked the food bank because he told me he wanted to provide food for kids over the summer,” said Luca’s mom, Ann-Margaret Donato. “I looked around, and the Food Bank was the first thing I was drawn to. So we left everything with St. Peter’s and they’re going to donate it all out for us.
“That’s what Saint Peter’s does — they actually go out into the community in Rehoboth and do lunches for the kids. We didn’t know that ahead of time, so it was a really good match when we found that out. This year I loved how it worked out with our church.”
Ann-Margaret Donato said it was exciting to go to the church to drop off Luca’s donations, which took up a whole corner of an office.
“We’ve been there now a couple years, and I love them because they’re very active in the community. They’re really big on giving back.”
When she first broached the subject with Luca before his sixth birthday, Ann-Margaret Donato said she was worried.
“I was worried as a mom at the beginning that, ‘Oh, my gosh, I’m taking away that part of his birthday’ — because I grew up with regular birthdays. But each year he gets to pick one gift that he really wants. This year, it was a 3-foot Godzilla. Last year, it was this huge fire truck.”
For the last two years, Luca has received a big gift from his parents and some others from family members.
“We put a big box by the door, and he decorates the sign and collects it all. He’s never batted an eye about it,” said Ann-Margaret Donato. “I thought he was going to give me a hard time last year when I proposed the idea, but he didn’t at all. This year, I asked who he wanted to donate to and he went right with it.”
Family and friends have also been receptive to Luca’s charitable birthday parties.
“I went online and just put it on our invite exactly what it said on the Food Bank, exactly what their needs were,” said Ann-Margaret Donato. “We got about $100 worth of food… Each group brought a bag of groceries. It was really nice. I would say most people brought five to 10 items.”
Ann-Margaret Donato said presents weren’t even missed during the birthday party, with the kids playing in the yard and slacklining, and a special visit from Officer Nick Harrington of the Ocean View Police Department.
“He gave me a ride in his jeep!” said Luca of the department’s new ATV. “We went right down the golf course.”
Luca, who will be starting first grade at Lord Baltimore Elementary School next week, will also be joining the Cub Scouts, where he hopes more volunteer opportunities will be available.
“With the boys, I try to teach them to pay it forward. That’s always been my big thing,” said Ann-Margaret Donato.
She said the family tries to pay it forward in a variety of ways, from visiting the residents at Brandywine Assisted Living for game night to something as simple as paying for the person behind them at a drive-through.
“They get a big kick out of it, and so do I. We’ll pay for it, and then we’ll zoom off. I love that… We pay forward a lot of things. So I’m hoping that message will continue with them. Just to be compassionate to others, and to put others first…
“We used to work for Freeman when we moved down here, before we had kids, and they were really big on paying it forward. Josh’s [Freeman’s] big thing was pay it forward. That statement, when he passed — I wanted to make sure that message continued on.”
In 2013, Ann-Margaret Donato shaved her head to raise money for St. Baldrick’s Foundation, in support of her cousin’s son, who was diagnosed with cancer.
“They understood that whole process, why mom was doing that,” she explained.
Donato said she and her husband, John, are very proud of Luca and his generous spirit.
“I’m really proud of him. We brought it up as an idea last year. It just felt like the right thing to do. We live in a small space. We don’t need any more toys — he already has enough,” she said, adding of her youngest son, Paolo, “I told the little one, ‘I’ll give you one more year,’ so at age 6, he’ll start doing the same thing.”
The birthday donations have been called Gifts to Give by the family, and Ann-Margaret Donato said it would be amazing to get more kids to join the movement.
“You could see how many kids could do it and make it a joint effort. It could be really amazing,” she said. “I think it’s nice for him to know that he can do that.”
As for donating to those in need, Luca said it has been a rewarding experience — and one that he plans to continue.
“It felt good to me to do it. Next year, I’ll do it for dogs,” he said. “I just think it’s nice to do things for other people.”
Over six days last month, more than 110 Special Olympics Delaware (SODE) athletes and 80 volunteer counselors went to Camp Barnes near Bethany Beach for the 15th annual Special Olympics Delaware Summer Camp sessions.
“For a lot of our athletes, this is the only chance they get to come experience a true summer camp. What started out 15 years ago as, ‘Hey, let’s play soccer, basketball, volleyball’ — we quickly realized our athletes wanted to just come to a real summer camp,” said Jon Buzby, director of media relations and program innovations for SODE.
Every summer, Special Olympics hosts two sessions of its annual summer camp at Camp Barnes, during which campers get to experience numerous traditional camp activities, ranging from kayaking and archery to swimming and more.
“So it’s turned into kayaking and swimming and a campfire… with a little bit of sports mixed into it,” said Buzby. “I think one of the neatest things to see is when we have athletes who come here and they do something for the first time. We see a lot of athletes who have never been on the water before. We see a lot of athletes who have never shot a bow and arrow before. And that’s something they don’t get to do with us any other time during the year.”
Returning camper Jason Stevenson of Bear, who completes in Special Olympics bowling and bocce, said camp is always a blast.
“We do lots of sports, and I like the food and I like all our roommates in our cabin. I like the campfire and I like the Hawaiian dance, and I like swimming in the pool,” he said. “I like everything. It’s very, very nice, the weather every time we come.”
Fourth-year camper Sammy Merovitz Jr., of Magnolia attended camp with his brother Andy.
“I like it. It’s fun. It’s something to do, and I meet new friends.”
Ocean View resident, SODE athlete and social butterfly Carol Bak has attended every year at Camp Barnes
“Because I love it here,” she explained.
First-year camper Sam Ho of Odessa attended camp this summer with his sister.
“I’m meeting a lot of people. Half the people here I never met before. It’s fun,” he said.
Although Ho is athletic and completes in softball and bowling, he said he’s never kayaked before.
“It’s fun but it’s hard,” he said, noting that paddling was the hardest part. “I’m definitely coming back next year.”
“It’s not because they have a disability that they’ve never done these things,” said Buzby. “It’s because they’ve never been given the opportunity. Really, that’s what Special Olympics is all about — opportunity. It was founded to give people with disabilities the opportunity to play sports, and that mission hasn’t changed in what’s been nearly 50 years. What we do at camp is we give them the opportunity to experience new things. And, for a lot of them, it’s the only time they’re ever away from home.”
Buzby said the camp is run by an amazing group of volunteers who help make the three-day, two-night camp experience memorable for the athletes.
“It never ceases to amaze me that the adults were here with us. Most of them are taking vacation days from work,” he said. “The fact that they take their own personal time and/or vacation time to come down here and enrich the athletes’ experience never ceases to amaze me.”
He noted that it’s not uncommon for siblings to volunteer to counsel at the same camp.
“Our camp director’s son is here working, and his daughter has worked camp before. I used to bring my 23-year-old son here, and he would hang out with everybody. And my two younger sons, who are 6 and 8 years old, can’t wait to come.
“It’s a great opportunity for them to hang out with our athletes and realize that they’re like everybody else.”
The mission of Special Olympics Delaware is “to provide year-round sports training and athletic competition in a variety of Olympic-type sports for 3,700 children and adults with intellectual disabilities, giving them continuing opportunities to develop physical fitness, demonstrate courage, experience joy and participate in a sharing of gifts, skills and friendship with their families, other Special Olympics athletes and the community.”
Another mission is to reach out to school-aged children to “activate youth to promote school communities where all young people are agents of change — fostering respect, dignity and advocacy for people with intellectual disabilities.”
Kylie Frazer, director of youth and school initiatives and co-camp director, was one such youth, who volunteered with the organization after meeting an athlete when she was a student.
Now, after 12 years volunteering for the organization, she landed her “dream job” and has worked for SODE for the past three years.
Frazer said more than 25 high school and college students from around the state volunteer at each camp session.
“For the last three years, we’ve really started to recruit our high school and college-age students to come to camp. They serve as our junior counselors, but the really cool thing is that allows our athletes a socialization factor.
“And they get the cool camp experience, where they do a bonfire and get to swim, go to a dance. That not only creates new friendship but allows the regular-ed students to see the abilities of our athletes and have fun at camp are doing it.”
Junior counselor Christian Houston, 18, of Dover attended camp with his older sister, who is a student at the University of Delaware.
Houston, who is attending University of Central Florida to studying animation and film, offered up his few remaining days of summer before heading to college to volunteer at the camp.
“I really like helping out, and I like making sure the athletes have fun and make friends during camp,” he said.
Houston said he even learned a thing or two during his years at camp.
“I had never done archery before I came here.”
The experience is clearly a special one — athletes and volunteers co-mingling, sharing jokes and stories, the sounds of splashing in the pool, and laughter ringing throughout the campground. Simply put, it’s people just having fun together.
Returning camper Justin Daisey of Clarksville said he would encourage all athletes to attend camp and see what makes it so wonderful.
“They would love it.”
For more information about Special Olympics Delaware, or to donate, volunteer or sign up an athlete, visit www.sode.org.
Since the age of 15, Tim Ferry has been guarding Delaware beaches. That was 40 years ago. But the Fenwick Island Beach Patrol captain wasn’t allowed to begin his 41st year without some celebration, as the Fenwick Island Town Council honored Ferry at its Aug. 28 meeting.
“There’s not much micro-management that has to occur when you’re working with” such an experienced employee, said Town Manager Merritt Burke.
More than the certificate and $50 award (per the Town personnel policy), Ferry looked amazed to receive a huge round of applause from the residents as he posed for photos with several other FIBP lifeguards.
“To say I like my job would be an understatement, but thank you,” Ferry said emotionally to the full house.
Even before beginning his 12 years as a FIBP leader, he learned to never underestimate anything on the beach, regardless riptides or calm water. Vacationing locally as a child, he’s always been enchanted by everything about the beach, from the sand to the small town.
“Once I got hooked on the lifeguard thing — it’s kind of hard to explain — it just felt right,” he said. “Once you save that first person — and it doesn’t mean they have to be on their way to drowning — … it’s really a feeling you can never replace. Unless you experience that, it’s really hard to understand.”
Other emergency responders can understand what it’s like to imagine “What if I wasn’t there?”
“When you know that you work hard, you train, you do the best you positively can,” and provide safe conditions, “that’s a great feeling,” Ferry said.
He recalled a particularly heavy surf day at Bethany Beach, when he and his stand partner had a combined 35 rescues on Campbell Street. A passing nor’easter churned the surf, and Ferry had to go around the jetty for rescues. He still recalls his captain being on shore when he came in again.
“That’s what it’s all about, being able to perform in those conditions,” he said.
There are plenty of happy endings, but also some sad ones. Sometimes people are flown to the hospital and some of them remain paralyzed to this day.
“It comes with the territory. We can only prevent so much,” Ferry said.
But it’s all about preparation and prevention, so those guards can dive in as fast as possible.
“It’s a group effort on patrol.” With a strong retention rate every summer, Ferry said, “My staff — I couldn’t ask anything more of them.” They’re fun, but they work hard, and they work out hard. “I couldn’t ask anything more than they’ve given.”
By entering the education field, Ferry still had summers free, but now he takes a teacher’s perspective. Ferry said he sees lifeguarding as “an extension of the classroom. … If you provide a good environment for those kids to learn, you’re going to get the best out of them.”
Ferry also received tributes from both chambers of Delaware General Assembly, honoring his dedication, which has included more than 500 rescues in those 40 years.
“I love what I do, so I don’t need that recognition, but I was just kind of floored that they were willing to recognize me,” Ferry said. “It’s not just about being a lifeguard. It’s about serving the people in Delaware.”
Ferry is the current president of the Sussex County Lifesaving Association and was a longtime vice president and Delaware delegate to the United States Lifesaving Association’s Mid-Atlantic Region.
Ferry was also part of an award-winning Delaware delegation at the recent USLA National Lifeguard Championships in Dayton Beach, Fla. He took first place in the Master’s Beach Flags competition (with Brad Hart winning the Men’s Open 2K Beach Run), helping Sussex County earn a sixth place overall finish against 1,000 other guards from across the nation.
He also announced that the Junior Lifeguard program had another successful season, with 100 participants, “which proves to be a good feeder program for the patrol,” Ferry said.
By training today’s youngsters, FIBP gets a head-start on training tomorrow’s guards. This summer, about 15 former junior guards were paid staff in the lifeguard stands.
As of mid-August, the FIBP had 79 rescues, 11 lost and returned persons, 15 medical emergencies, four ambulance calls and 314 ATV/side-by-side transportation requests.
Who says Labor Day has to be the end? The summer season continues Saturday, Sept. 12, at the 37th Annual Bethany Beach Boardwalk Arts Festival. From 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., downtown Bethany will transform into a free outdoor art festival. More than 100 juried artists will show and sell their finest glass, jewelry, metalwork, pottery, painting, photography, basketry, drawing, woodwork and more.
Artists’ booths will be located on the boardwalk from Campbell Place to Central Avenue, also spilling onto Parkwood Avenue, the bandstand and the east end of Garfield Parkway.
“There’s fine arts with the fine crafts, so you get a really diverse artwork,” said artist Celeste Kelly. “So, anything you’re interested in, you’re going to find something there. The quality of the work is great.”
“It’s free — that’s the big thing!” Kelly said. “I think a lot of people don’t know … that a lot of places charge.”
That brings in many types of visitors.
“It’s our first time, and I had no clue what it’s like. Anyway, it will be fun to find out,” said artist Elaine Valletta of Appletree Creations, whose family is making a vacation of it.
“If you like to go to craft shows at all, and you like the ocean, you’ve got a great combination, Valletta said. “What could be better than that?”
The festival has more than art.
• The silent auction features items that festival artists have donated. Guests can bid from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. All proceeds benefit art programs at the four local elementary schools.
• The Bethany Beach Farmers Market will be held from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the PNC Bank parking lot.
• Visitors can also check out the children’s area.
• The public can participate in an interactive mural creation with local artist John Donato.
• Sedona restaurant will host a four-part wine tasting from 2 to 5 p.m. Selected by Banks Wines and Spirits, two reds and two whites will be paired with bites created by Sedona chefs. Tickets cost $20 and can be purchased at the door or beforehand at www.bethany-fenwick.org (Visit the event page, then click “Register Now”). Proceeds benefit the Chamber. Shoppers can visit the tasting anytime to sample the food and wine stations two blocks from the ocean. It’s a way to try something they wouldn’t normally buy, said Sedona owner Marian Parrot.
• Five local high school artists will compete for a $1,000 scholarship, sponsored by Quiet Resorts Charitable Foundation. The winner will be determined by public vote, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. The winner will be announced at 4 p.m.
Paid parking continues in downtown Bethany Beach, with the normal trolley schedule also in place for the event. For this event only, visitors may also park for free at St. Ann’s Catholic Church, which is a 10-minute walk from the festival.
The rain date is Sunday, Sept. 13.
Learn more at www.bethanybeachartsfestival.com.
Meet some of the boardwalk artists
Color and light twinkle in 3D mosaics
When visiting Barcelona years ago, Celeste Kelly was dazzled by the beauty and size of Spanish mosaics designed by Antonio Gaudi. Having studied ceramics at University of Delaware, Kelly still had a kiln at home in Newark.
“When I came back home, I started playing around,” she said of her work mixing and recycling old shards of stained glass, bottles, ceramics and other scraps.
Inspired by nature, she said she likes sending other people outside, too, by designing glassworks that can withstand the elements and beautify any garden.
“I put a lot of mirrors in my work. It reflects the sun, so you get all these shimmers,” Kelly said.
She builds her works using cement, fiberglass and ceramics. The high-fired projects can handle the annual freezing and thawing.
In Bethany, people can buy Kelly’s wall art, birdbaths, benches, tuffets (garden stools) and “twirly whirlies” (glass globes).
Back for her third festival, “I really enjoy it because I like the area, and it’s so much fun being close to the beach,” Kelly said.
The wild, rustic designs of Appletree Creations
A simple wooden pull-toy was the start of something big for Elaine and Frank Valletta. Inspired by the simple wheeled toys of yesteryear, the Vallettas began an artful retirement almost 30 years ago.
After his career in education and with her background in art, they turned to their upstate New York farm for inspiration, hand-carving representations of the animals traditionally found on any farm.
“We had always made wooden gifts for people,” Elaine Valletta said. It was just natural progression to make it a business.
He does the major cutting, and she does the details, from the belt sander to the last layer of crackle paint and stenciling.
They started big but have since turned to a more charming size — figurines that are measured in inches, rather than feet.
After 9/11, they added a practical line of wooden animal-shaped boxes. The Holstein cow and fox boxes stand up on wooden legs, while the swan box sits on its bottom.
“They all have a little knob that’s another little animal on the top,” such as a bird sitting on the cow, Valletta said.
Appletree Creations will bring the whole menagerie to Bethany Beach, from lackadaisical farm animals (pigs, rabbits, sheep) to serene safari creatures (lions, giraffes, elephants).
Through the eyes of a photographer
Encouraged for several years to do some art shows, photographer Leigh Dwyer dipped her toes in the water at another boardwalk show earlier this year. She’s bringing back what shoppers like, excited to participate in her first Bethany Beach Boardwalk Arts Festival.
“It was such a positive experience, getting the feedback from people on my work, which has actually helped motivate me for future work,” said Dwyer, a Virginian who summers in South Bethany. “If you don’t get out there and show your stuff, you really don’t know how people feel about it and respond to it.”
A good photo can start a conversation.
“People who really enjoy photography like to share their experiences,” Dwyer said.
Dwyer already has an image of Little Assawoman Bay on display outdoors on Ocean Drive, part of the South Bethany Art Boards program.
She shoots a variety of subjects, local scenes and images from her worldwide travels. (She also does photo shoots for mothers-to-be, families and local surfers.)
She’ll bring framed and ready-to-hang works; unframed 12-by-18-inch and 16-by-24-inch prints; some notecards; and 5-by-7-inch matted prints, ready to be framed as 8-by-10s, “which are really nice little gift items.”
“There’s lots of variety of art and works, and something for everybody, whether you are looking for something to decorate your home or your garden or yourself,” she said of the jewelry on offer at the show. “Even if you are a non-shopper and just want to go look at the things, it’s just really nice, high-end, creative artwork. This is more … artisan-type. People have really talented works of art that they’re doing.”