Financial concerns dominated Tuesday night’s meeting of the Ocean View Town Council, as council members wrangled with falling revenue, an increasing need for space for town operations and questions about how much value to place on a public safety program championed by the town’s police chief.
As of 12:20 p.m., the lockdown was lifted at Indian River School District. Delaware State Police determined that the threat at East Millsboro Elementary was not credible. School and afternoon activities will continue as usual.
The Millville Town Council this week unanimously approved a preliminary design plan for the Town’s new municipal building.
In January, the council had unanimously approved a $106,942 contract for the design of a second Town municipal building, plus other services. Architectural design, permitting and soil testing will be done by George, Miles & Buhr LLC (GMB).
School board candidates got to face their electorate directly last week, answering questions in a District 4 debate on April 21. The League of Women Voters in Sussex County hosted the non-partisan debate among candidates for the Indian River School District’s Board of Education
The Indian River School District’s school board is looking on the sunny side, having voted April 28 to take the first step toward solar power.
Sussex Central High School was one of five Delaware locations chosen for a Solar Resiliency Pilot Program.
Not only would the school “go green,” but the solar array saves money and is installed at no cost to the school district.
The South Bethany Town Council has been looking under people’s houses lately. But homeowner’s should get upset over privacy concerns — the council is researching a new ordinance, which would affect lattice and boards around the open space under houses.
The April 10 council meeting revolved around houses’ floor-area ratio (FAR).
How many fire trucks can you fit in one parade? How about three states’ worth?
Millsboro will host a full firefighter’s parade on Saturday, May 2, at 2 p.m., as part of the annual Del-Mar-Va Volunteer Firemen’s Association Convention.
While Karimali for Hair may be offering some new services, including makeup and full body waxing at their new location in Fenwick Island, they’re still offering the same service that has made their customers feel like family for the past seven years.
“Most of my friends are my clients,” explained Gina Karimalis, who owns the shop with her husband, Costa. “They turn into my family. I maybe met them doing their hair, but they become my family.”
As a professional hairstylist in their area throughout her entire life — much like most of her entire staff, with which she has worked for just as long — to Karimalis, the inviting, family-like atmosphere is just the way it’s always been.
“You’d be surprised. This is a hangout,” she said. “To me, it just seems so normal.”
But with Karimalis working on both women’s and men’s hair, and even children’s hair, it’s not just the girls gabbing in the shop.
Fenwick Island Police Chief William Boyden offered a warning to local property owners at the April 24 town council meeting, noting that it had been discovered that criminals with reported connections to terrorism were using homes unoccupied during the winter as mail drops for credit and cash cards that had been obtained through identity and credit theft.
Lighthouse Christian School in Dagsboro will be hosting its annual Spring Breakfast Fundraiser this weekend to help collect funds for the school’s Learning Assistance program.
“Every penny goes to helping needy families keep their kids in the private school,” said Rudy Viguie, whose wife, Pat, is the event planner for the school.
After their son Aiden had played in it for years, a spring without the Challenger Baseball League just wasn’t an option for Kevan and Megan Browne when they moved to the area.
But after spending their first official baseball season in Sussex County traveling back and forth to Maryland, accounting for more than five hours of drive time every Saturday, the Brownes are bringing the league — designed for special needs players ages 5 to 18 — to Delaware.
“He would start asking like Wednesday, and at the time, gas was like 4 bucks a gallon,” explained Kevan Browne of how important the league became to his son. “It was five hours in the car and 100 bucks in gas for an hour-and-a-half baseball game, but he loved it.”
While the league is, of course, designed for the players, the adult Brownes have enjoyed it equally, forming friendships within the community that span much further than the baseball diamond. It’s that type of camaraderie that they aim to establish in Sussex County.
More than 20 years have passed since the county chorus concert, as they can recall. But a group of Sussex County teachers decided to start up the music again, forming the 2015 Sussex County Junior Honor Choir, which performed for one grand night, on April 1.
The project began last summer, with a group of teachers lamenting the lack of a choral equivalent to the county band.
“Do you want to just do it? Who says we can’t do it?” Laura Day, Georgetown Middle School choral and band teacher, recalled the group asking.
According to anecdote, the last junior concert was in 1986. A current chorus teacher remembers senior chorus in 1993.
“The only thing chorus has is All-State Chorus, but it’s very selective,” said Eric Tsavdar, Selbyville Middle School chorus director. “It gives the opportunity for students who maybe aren’t All-State level singers yet to kind of break out of their school choir and sing with a more [advanced] group.”
High schools will be invited to participate next year, and auditions will be added in future.
Town Manager Cliff Graviet announced on April 17 that the long-planned and long-running Streetscape project in Bethany Beach was officially complete — except for a few “punchlist” items.
Newly constructed roads and sidewalks need hours, if not days, to set properly. But after that, the painted white lines can dry in just three minutes, noted road workers putting the finishing touches on Bethany Beach’s Streetscape project on April 17.
Yet, that high speed also needs high heat.
Ben Villegas used a blowtorch to heat a handcart of melted white thermoplastic to about 400 degrees. That’s much hotter than regular asphalt, and it’s not something one wants to touch.
“You only do it a couple times,” Brett Johns said ruefully. “Then you learn your lesson.”
They had already completed the striping for the parking spaces and were creating “pavement markings,” including the arrows and text for the Garfield Parkway turn lanes.
Although he could draw the arrows free-hand, Mark Johns opted to stencil a quick outline with spray paint, to ensure uniformity on identical arrows so closely placed on the roadway.
The Shore Democrats last week got some inside information as to how the Sussex County Planning & Zoning Commission conducts business.
P&Z Chairman Bob Wheatley, along with Bethany Beach resident and District 4 Commissioner Rodney Smith, spoke to an assembled group of members, explaining that P&Z is a five-person commission, where no more than two members can come from any one district.
The Planning & Zoning Commission deals with changes of zoning, conditional uses and subdivisions.
“Everything we do is governed by the planning and zoning ordinance,” said Wheatley. “We often have to act on things that we may not like, but our job as planning and zoning commissioners is to measure the application against the ordinance. Whatever the ordinance says goes.”
Wheatley, who has served on the commission for 20 years, said the P&Z makes recommendations to Sussex County Council, though the council is not bound to follow those recommendations.
Former state senate candidate Eric Bodenweiser, 56, of Georgetown will not be serving jail time after pleading “no contest” in Sussex County Superior Court on March 18 to two counts of third-degree unlawful sexual contact.
Superior Court Judge E. Scott Bradley sentenced Bodenweiser to one year of supervised probation, and he must register as a Tier I sex offender.
The Sussex County Council received a legislative update from Hal Godwin, deputy county administrator, at this week’s county council meeting.
Godwin spoke to the council about House Bill 85, which would amend Title 30 of the Delaware Code relating to State Taxes — allowing tax intercept programs to be used to collect delinquent taxes.
Emma Rider has collected 100,000 pairs of shoes in five years. But those are just the tips of the laces that tie her tale together.
At 18, Rider has a knack for transforming old kicks into clean water. She explained the basics to the Lord Baltimore Lioness Club on April 16.
“One billion people lack access to safe water,” Rider said.
Ocean View is a small, quaint town. This is a natural progression of the years and population growth. The fact that it is a nice place to live, and increasingly so in the last three years, is because elected officials have worked hard to ensure that the Town remains fiscally responsible, that we listen to what the residents want but we make our decisions based on what is best for the long-term good of the Town and avoid kneejerk reactions to momentarily hot topics.
About 40 high school juniors filled the Sussex County Council chambers last Thursday, April 16. They were not in chambers to request a grant or make public comment on a proposed ordinance, but rather as representatives of Girls and Boys State.
Boys and Girls State are programs through the American Legion, offering high school juniors the opportunity to become part of the operation of local, county and state government.
“The national organization requires them to be a member of the junior class, becoming seniors in the fall,” explained Lyman Brenner, chairman of Delaware Boys State. “The state of Delaware has added, too, that they must be in the upper third of their class academically.”
Boys State has existed in Delaware since 1946, and those who wish to participate may be recommended from their school, previous Boys and Girls State participants, American Legion posts or military service academy nominees.
After taking over the Dagsboro-area business formerly known as Goodfella’s, Lovetti’s Pizza owner Brian Lovett knew that it might take some time to establish a reputation for his new venture. But he also knew that the best way to do that was simple: good food and good service. And that’s exactly what he set out to do.
“I take a lot of pride in my food,” said Lovett. “It’s like mom and dad are making the food.”
While he’s just recently set up shop near Dagsboro, Lovett has been in the restaurant industry throughout his life, getting his knowledge of Italian cuisine by training with chefs in Philadelphia, where he’s originally from. That knowledge includes all types of pizza, but Lovetti’s offers up much more.
“I do more than just pizza,” he said. “I make my own chicken wings, mozzarella sticks… I do everything from scratch. That’s the major difference here.”
In 2007, a 12-foot-tall and 16-foot-wide granite memorial rose from the ground upon its unveiling at the Marvel Museum in Georgetown. The dedication of this monument was the fulfillment of the Delaware Grays Camp #2068, Sons of Confederate Veterans, pledge to honor those Delawareans who served the Confederate States of America during the Civil War.
Native plants are the best of both worlds; they bring natural beauty and wildlife to the back yard, but they were also meant to live in coastal Delaware, so they are less likely to need extra water or nutrients.
Their popularity accounts for the 11th year of the Gardening for the Bays Native Plant Sale, on Saturday, May 2, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. The nighttime cocktail party also returns on the eve of the sale.
Organizer Sally Boswell of event sponsor the Delaware Center for the Inland Bays called this the “one-stop-shop for going native in your garden,” hosted annually at James Farm Ecological Preserve on Cedar Neck Road in Ocean View.
“The big stores, for the most part — they have not gotten into native plant offerings in their nurseries. So it’s our small, local, independent nurseries that are leading the way in that,” said Boswell.
Five nurseries will sell thousands of flowers, shrubs, grasses and trees.
DNREC Division of Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police officers between April 6-12 made 1,254 contacts with anglers, hunters, boaters and the general public, including 110 vessel boardings for boating safety and fishing regulation compliance checks. Officers responded to 41 complaints and issued 26 citations.
Lawless reflects on time on council
At this week’s Ocean View Town Council meeting, councilman Bill Olsen suggested the Town request that the two temporary traffic signals at the intersections of Windmill Avenue with Central Avenue and Cedar Drive with Central Avenue remain in place following construction.
Following eight hours at the polls, Ocean View residents had made their voices heard by electing Carol Bodine to serve as District 4 councilperson for the next three years.
Bodine was one of four candidates running for the council seat held by term-limited councilman Bob Lawless.
Bodine, a Wedgefield resident, won the seat with 133 votes. Candidate Kent Liddle received 85 votes, Jon DeBuchananne received 23 votes, and Don Walsh received 14.
“I’m thrilled at the results,” said Bodine. “I’m honored that I was with such a qualified group and that I still won. They were all good people and would’ve done a good job.”
During the campaign, Bodine, along with friends and family, campaigned throughout the town and were able to knock on the door of every voter.
“We didn’t miss a house… I had a great team. We knocked on every door in three weeks. We covered all of the Ocean View voters. … When people were coming out to vote, they told me, ‘You were the one who came to the door, and I appreciated that.’
Patti Grimes, executive director of the Joshua M. Freeman Foundation, gave Sussex County Council members an update on the Freeman Stage at Bayside earlier this week. Grimes said “the arts are alive” in Sussex County while sharing the progress the foundation has made.
According to its website, the Joshua M. Freeman Foundation, “aims to create opportunities to elevate the human spirit through the arts, for residents of Sussex County and the surrounding area, by partnering to present memorable performances and provide inspired arts education for all.”
“We are a foundation on a mission,” she told the council. “Our mission has been consistent with partnering to present memorable performances and inspire arts education for all… Those last two words are very important to us: ’for all.’
“Having access for everyone in Sussex County, including guests that are coming into the county to enjoy high-quality arts experiences.”
Delaware State Police continue to investigate a Dagsboro home-invasion robbery that occurred in late January.
According to police, on Jan. 23, about 11:15 p.m., a 26-year-old woman returned from work to her home on Piney Neck Road and parked in her driveway. There, they said, three black men confronted her as she exited her vehicle.
At that time, police said, she was forced to the ground, with one of the suspects allegedly displaying an unknown make and model of handgun. Two of the suspects then allegedly forced her into the residence and demanded money.
According to the DSP, the victim complied and gave one of the suspects an undisclosed amount of money. The victim reported that a third black man stood next to the residence.
The South Bethany Town Council will see some new faces after the May 23 election. Six residents are currently competing for three seats, but councilmembers Tony Caputo, Jim Gross and Al Rae did not file for reelection. The positions carry a two-year term.
Pending their eligibility reviews on April 17, candidates include Elizabeth Baker, Don Boteler, Joel Danshes, Wayne Schrader, Carol Stevenson and Frank Weisgerber. (William Bombright withdrew shortly after filing.)
Absentee ballots are available for any resident unable to vote at Town Hall on May 23. To request an absentee ballot, residents should contact Town Hall for an affidavit. After that is returned, a ballot will be mailed. They can also visit Town Hall in person to complete both forms during regular operating hours. Absentee ballots must be filed with the Town no later than 3 p.m. on election day.
The civil trial of former Sussex County councilman Vance Phillips began early this week in the Kent County Courthouse, dealing with allegations that Phillips had sexually assaulted and threatened a young woman who had worked on his political campaign.