Sussex County

Phillips says farewell to county council

Coastal Point • Maria Counts  : County Administrator Todd Lawson presents outgoing Sussex County Councilman Vance Phillips with a plaque in recognition of, and appreciation for, his 16 years of service.Coastal Point • Maria Counts : County Administrator Todd Lawson presents outgoing Sussex County Councilman Vance Phillips with a plaque in recognition of, and appreciation for, his 16 years of service.Following a 16-year tenure, Sussex County District 5 Councilman Vance Phillips this week concluded his last council meeting.

“Today is my last day on county council after so many years,” said Phillips on Dec. 16. “During the course of this meeting, it has been a great joy to see so many faces. Everybody in this room means so much to me.”

A reception was held following the meeting, culminating Phillips’ time on council. Those in attendance included former council president Dale Dukes; state Reps. Ron Gray, Dave Wilson, Rich Collins and Tim Dukes, and former county administrators Bob Stickles, Joe Conaway and David Baker.

Phillips thanked all those in attendance for their guidance and friendship over the years.

“As I look around this room, it just fills my heart with joy to know that people like you care about me,” he said. “When I was injured and in the hospital, it was so many of you that prayed me up out of that hospital bed… Just day-by-day I felt God’s hand in it all. It was because so many people were praying for me.”

County discusses poultry-house assessments, health insurance

The Sussex County Council this week was given a presentation by Chris Keeler, the County’s director of assessment, at the request of outgoing Councilman Vance Phillips, in response to a petition by a number of poultry growers who said they were concerned about the cost of their County property taxes.

County residents speak up during Mediacom public hearing

Residents were able to voice their opinions last week related to Mediacom Delaware LLC’s application to renew its franchise agreement to provide service in areas of Sussex County.

On Oct. 17, Mediacom filed an application with the Delaware Public Service Commission to renew its cable television franchise — currently serving certain unincorporated areas of Sussex County.

Massey’s Landing gets boost from county council

The Sussex County Council approved a change of zone and a conditional use of land in an AR-1 Agricultural Residential District for a campground in Long Neck at its Dec. 10 council meeting.

Sussex County carolers, groups collect nearly 31,000 food items for those in need

Hearts full of joy are helping to fill pantries full with food this holiday season.

Sussex County names Pettyjohn employee of the year

Sussex County has named Vanessa B. Pettyjohn of Millsboro the 2014 employee of the year for County government.

Sussex County announces Election Year Scholarship Contest winners

With one eye on today’s politics and the other on future academics, six Sussex County students have earned some collegiate cash for their political punditry.

Bodenweiser retrial now to be held in Kent County

The retrial of former political candidate and local businessman Eric Bodenweiser on sexual abuse charges will be moved to Kent County, following Superior Court Judge E.

Bethany area outreach hopes to bring Christmas to others

The Bethany Area Community Christmas Gift Giving Outreach was created in hopes of reaching as many lower Sussex County families in need as possible this holiday season.

“We’re going to reach as many as we can. … There’s no reason why anyone should go without,” said coordinator Pat Duchesne.

Georgetown to hold ‘Simply Christmas’ parade

The Georgetown Christmas Parade will step off on Thursday, Dec. 4, in Georgetown at 7 p.m. Representatives of the Georgetown Chamber of Commerce, which is hosting the event, said they are sure the annual parade will satisfy everyone’s idea of what Christmas is because the theme this year is, “Simply Christmas.”

Roadside signs must be removed by Dec. 5

With the 2014 elections now history, all roadside signs must be removed by Dec. 5 or those posting them will face fines for each sign, the Delaware Department of Transportation reminded residents this week. According to state law, signs are allowed in some areas of the State-owned right-of-way for 30 days prior and 30 days after an election.

Hocker coffee serves up discussion of oysters and rent hikes

For the first time since he was elected state representative in 2000, state Sen. Gerald Hocker Sr. enjoyed his first election off. But he was back to work Wednesday morning, with a Nov. 5 “Coffee’s On Me” with constituents.

Arlett and Cole win county seats, Collins tops Atkins

Tuesday night was an interesting one for Delaware politics, as there were a few upsets in the state and county elections this week.

Kammerer discusses the power of selling at annual conference

For the past 21 years, Sussex County community leaders, business people and citizens have been coming together at the Today and Tomorrow Conference to promote economics, partnership and collaboration in the county.

The conference, which was held last week at Delaware Tech in Georgetown, was a “SELLebration.”

Sussex County kicks off annual food drive for Caroling

Warm up the vocal chords and grab a canned good or two — it’s almost time for carols in the air and hope in the hearts across Sussex County.

Coastal Cleanup’s 1,800 volunteers collect 3 tons of trash

This year’s DNREC-sponsored 28th annual Delaware Coastal Cleanup, held on Sept. 20, drew 1,805 volunteers, who collected 3.2 tons of trash from 46 sites along more than 80 miles of Delaware’s waterways and coastline stretching from Wilmington to Fenwick Island. About one-third of that trash — aluminum cans and glass and plastic bottles — was recycled this year.

Candidates get the final say before next week’s elections

Voters will certainly have plenty to think about during this year’s mid-term elections, taking place next Tuesday, Nov. 4. As is our tradition, we have sent off a few questions to the candidates in our local elections, and here are the responses we received back before we went to press. Each candidate is listed in alphabetical order for each office.

County Council

Return Day a unique Sussex County tradition

As time-honored Delaware traditions go, Return Day may be the most unique of them all.

Banks shows some spirit with Chamber’s Lighthouse Award

Coastal Point • Maria Counts : Kami Banks, second from left, receives the Lighthouse Award at the Chamber’s annual awards celebration. Pictured with Banks, from left, are Dale Bellinger, Todd Hickman and Anne Powell.Coastal Point • Maria Counts : Kami Banks, second from left, receives the Lighthouse Award at the Chamber’s annual awards celebration. Pictured with Banks, from left, are Dale Bellinger, Todd Hickman and Anne Powell.Just running a business is a big responsibility, but that didn’t stop Kami Banks from working double duty for, and ultimately winning, the 2014 Lighthouse Award from the Bethany-Fenwick Area Chamber of Commerce last week.

One year ago, Banks (of Banks Wines & Spirits) was sworn in as the Chamber board president. That was expected. What the Quiet Resorts didn’t expect was the sudden resignation of the Chamber executive director just prior to the new board term.

Banks then agreed to fill that roll, too, doubly leading the Chamber for four months, until staffer Kristie Maravalli was announced as successor.

Banks was praised for handling the situation with “class, dignity and grace,” despite the obvious rush of running a business and holding two Chamber positions.

Seniors learn to be safe and secure at LIVE Conference

Both seniors and the people who love them spent a rainy Monday pleasantly indoors with the second annual Sussex County LIVE Conference.

“Of course, everyone here wants to learn about living safely and secure,” said organizer Sally Beaumont, chairperson of Sussex County Council’s Sussex County Advisory Committee on Aging & Adults with Physical Disabilities.

Protecting Our Indian River group appeals to Superior Court

A courtroom in the Sussex County Superior Court in Georgetown was packed Monday morning, as Superior Court Judge Richard Stokes heard oral arguments for an appeal to overturn a decision by the Sussex County Board of Adjustment that allows the Allen Harim chicken processing plant to move forward in Millsboro.

Recent data shows a stable real estate market in Sussex County

The Sussex County Association of Realtors (SCAOR) released third-quarter sales data last week that they said indicates continuing stability in the county’s real estate markets.

“These positive housing trends continue to be fueled by strong inventories, incredible buying opportunities and interest rates that remain at below average levels,” they said.

Residents voice feelings on aquaculture

After a recent uproar about the potential impacts of shellfish aquaculture in the Inland Bays, local residents gathered at a massive meeting hosted by state Sen. Gerald Hocker Sr. and state Rep. Ron Gray this week to express their concerns.

Punkin Chunkin pos’poned to November of nex’ year

Punkin Chunkin organizers recently announced that the event was being moved out of Sussex County, and now, it’s been moved right out of 2014, as well. The pumpkin-flinging festival, which was to begin its first season at Dover International Speedway on Oct. 24 to 26, 2014, has instead been postponed to Nov. 6 to 8, 2015.

Federal funding granted to support Delaware aquaculture

Last week, U.S. Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.) joined local and state officials, and representatives from the University of Delaware and the Center for the Inland Bays to announce two federal grants to support the development of oyster farming in Delaware’s Inland Bays.

County hires Booker-Wilkins

Sussex County announced this week that Melody Booker-Wilkins will serve as the economic development director for the County starting in mid-October.

“The County is very lucky to able to hire such a well-qualified and experienced professional from right here in our back yard,” said County Administrator Todd F. Lawson on Tuesday.

Sussex County Council briefed on 2014 World Series

Earlier this week, Martin Donovan, director of Delaware District III, Senior and Big League Softball World Series, gave Sussex County Council an overview of the 2014 series, which was held in early August.

“By all accounts, it was a success, including the rain,” said Donovan on Sept. 30. “Little League International has nine World Series — we have two of them in Sussex County.”

Christopher seeks reelection as write-in candidate for sheriff

Earlier this week, Sussex County Sheriff Jeff Christopher filed as a write-in candidate for that office in the November general election.

Christopher lost the primary race in September to newcomer Robert T. Lee, by 21 votes. An automatic recount was held by the Sussex County Department of Elections later that week, which found the 21-vote difference to be accurate.

DNREC struggling to maintain local beach crossings

After another summer of the trek to the ocean being a little too tall of an order for some beachgoers, Tony Pratt of DNREC’s Shoreline & Waterway Management division stopped by Fenwick Island town hall on Sept. 26 to discuss dune maintenance with the town council. The core problem with maintaining beach accessibility, he said, is too much to do with too few resources.

Oyster aquaculture isn’t all it’s cracked up to be, residents argue

After months of new oyster aquaculture regulations being hammered into shape, a group of concerned citizens are hoping to straighten that picture.

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