Fenwick Island News

Town of Fenwick Island, Delaware

Population:

  • 379 (2010 Census)

Town council meetings:

  • Fourth Friday of the month, 3:30 p.m., town hall meeting room

Elections:

  • First Saturday in August, alternating slate of four and three seats, two-year terms; mayor/council president chosen from among the council, with a one-year term

Town office:

  • 800 Coastal Highway, Fenwick Island, DE 19944; (302) 539-3011, fax (302) 539-1305

Web site

General e-mail inquiries

Town Council 2013-2014:

  • Gene Langan, Mayor
  • Richard Mais, Vice-Mayor
  • Diane Tingle, Secretary
  • Gardner Bunting, Treasurer
  • William Weistling
  • Roy Williams
  • Julie Lee

Town Manager:

  • Merritt Burke

Town Clerk:

  • Agnes DiPietrantonio

Finance Assistant:

  • Josie Correnti

Building Official:

  • Patricia Schuchman

Standing committees:

  • Beautification/ Parks & Recreation, Beach, Environmental, Planning, Board of Adjustments, Board of Elections, Audit, Budget, Building, Charter and Ordinance, Commercial Action, Emergency Management

Police:

  • William Boyden, Chief

Town Solicitor:

  • Tempe Steen

Emergency:

  • 911

Non-emergency police contact:

  • (302) 539-2000

Beach patrol:

  • Tim Ferry, Captain
  • The Beach Patrol is on duty beginning Memorial Day weekend each summer (Saturday, Sunday & Monday) and then two more weekends thereafter, and every day through Labor Day and then two weekends after Labor Day.

Trash pick-up:

  • October through April, Monday only. May through September, Monday & Thursday. Heavy trash pickup, June 8, 9 & 10 and September 9, 10, & 11.

Curbside recycling:

  • A voluntary townwide curbside recycling program through DSWA has been instituted beginning in 2008. Property owners may sign up on the town Web site or at town hall. Pick-ups are on Fridays, weekly from May to September and bi-weekly during the other months. The Fenwick Island Lions Club also collects aluminum cans in a bin behind town hall.

BREAKING NEWS: Six candidate to vie for Fenwick Island council seats

Once again, Fenwick Island has six candidates for its town council election, set this year for Aug. 6.

Voters can vote for up to three candidates from the following: Gardner Bunting (incumbent), Vicki L. Carmean, Kevin Carouge, Charles W. Hastings, Marc McFaul and Bernard “Bernie” H. Merritt Jr.

Council terms are two years.

Election committee criticized after voting restriction proposed

Just weeks after Fenwick Island’s Ad-hoc Election Committee recommended two changes to the Town’s voting requirements, the mayor moved to disband the committee. He ultimately agreed to wait till a review of the issue by the town attorney.

Coast Guard to offer free boat safety checks June 25

The U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary, Flotilla 12-01, will conduct Vessel Safety Checks on Saturday, June 25, at Island Watersports, 36084 Harpoon Road, Fenwick Island, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Boardwalk Arts Festival adds arts and antiques tour

The Bethany-Fenwick Area Chamber of Commerce is partnering with new presenting sponsor, Schell Brothers, for the 38th Annual Bethany Beach Boardwalk Arts Festival, scheduled for Saturday, Sept. 10, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Fenwick talks money, approves budget and fire company fee

Money talks, and the Fenwick Island Town Council talked money at their May 27 meeting.

The council approved the Fiscal Year 2017 Financial Plan, with a balanced budget of $2,026,775.

There have been no real estate property tax rate increases in more than a decade for Fenwick’s 817 properties, including Town properties

Shorter than expected, Route 54 sidewalks still an improvement

Route 54 isn’t very pedestrian-friendly. Near Fenwick Island, the two-lane road is narrow, with shoulders, but lacking sidewalks or a center turn lane. Joggers and cyclists must share the road shoulders with regular traffic travelling at least 35 mph.

Fenwick Island tries to protect trees from fatal pest

Coastal Point • Laura Walter In Fenwick Island, pinecones and bare branches are all that remain after this black pine tree died from an infection carried by beetles.Coastal Point • Laura Walter In Fenwick Island, pinecones and bare branches are all that remain after this black pine tree died from an infection carried by beetles.In the back yard of an attractive beach house in Fenwick Island, Mary Ellen Langan opened a large hunting knife and began scraping at the solid branch of a pine tree.

She was looking for a blue stain among the light tan wood. That would be proof that the dead tree had suffered from an infection caused by an insect.

Some of Fenwick Island’s black pine trees have died quickly this winter, infected by a contagious microscopic nematode carried by beetles.

“These beetles and nematodes spread from tree to tree. So if you drive around town, you can see a lot of these dead and dying trees,” said Langan, head of the municipality’s Environmental Committee. “The only way to stop it is to take these trees down immediately. [Otherwise,] it’s going to spread.”

“There is no known treatment,” said Laura Yowell, a Sussex County forester for the Delaware Department of Agriculture’s Forest Service.

“Pinewood nematode lives in the wood of the infected trees. It’s transmitted by a pine sawyer beetle. Both are native pests,” she noted, which can live in native trees without causing any trouble but can also be fatal for some non-native trees.

First, beetles find and feed on the weakened trees. They carry the nematode, which gets under tree. About 95 percent of the time, people can see the blue stains indicating a fungus the nematodes carry.

“You have to cut into a limb. If you see a blue stain under the bark, there’s evidence there’s a nematode,” Langan said.

Candidates can register for 2016 FI election

Candidates can now throw their hats into the ring for the 2016 Fenwick Island Town Council election, scheduled for Aug. 6. The three seats up for election are currently held by Gardner Bunting, Diane Tingle and Bill Weistling.

Candidates must register by June 22 at 4:30 p.m. Forms are available at Town Hall.

New owners, same tradition at Fenwick Crab House

Coastal Point • Tyler Valliant: Todd Hays, left center, and Pat McArdle, right center, pose with some happy customers after taking over the Fenwick Crab House.Coastal Point • Tyler Valliant: Todd Hays, left center, and Pat McArdle, right center, pose with some happy customers after taking over the Fenwick Crab House.The secret Fenwick Crab House crabcake recipe is locked away in a safe at an undisclosed location.

The dish has been named “The Perfect Crab Cake” by the New York Times, voted Delaware Today’s Reader’s Choice “Best Crab Cakes” three years running and “Best Crab Cake in Delaware” by state-wide publications, among other awards.

But while that recipe hasn’t changed since 1988, only two people know just exactly how it reads.

With owners Scott and Cathy Fornwalt now ready to pass the torch, new owners Pat McArdle and Todd Hays are ready to take on protecting that secret recipe and the Fornwalt legacy at the state’s most historic crab house (est. 1962).

“The traditions of this place were incredible,” said McArdle. “We’re going to continue Scott and Cathy’s, but we also want to add to ours. We want to look out for their reputation and create our own. Our big thing is satisfy the customer, no matter what it takes.”

Rt. 54 sidewalk improvements subject of June 6 public workshop

The Delaware Department of Transportation (DelDOT) invites the public to attend a public workshop to receive information about the Final Design for various proposed lighting, striping, and pedestrian improvements on Route 54 in Fenwick Island.

Fenwick’s proposal to increase some voter rights, limit others

Discussion is just beginning on a suggestion to change voting requirements in Fenwick Island, based on land ownership.

The Ad-hoc Election Committee has asked the town council to consider not allowing residents to vote in town council elections if they don’t own land in town.

The committee did propose extending voting rights to the spouses of trustees that own property in town.

Beach towns short on sand but ready for summer

It’s here! The unofficial start of the summer season at the Delaware shore has arrived with Memorial Day weekend, and it’s a time of transition for the area, as the relatively quiet second season of spring sprouts into the hustle and bustle that is the resort area’s high season.

Crash near Fenwick injures motorcycle driver

The Delaware State Police Collision Reconstruction Unit this week was investigating a motorcycle crash near Fenwick Island that seriously injured a Maryland man.

Fenwick council talks politics, legal fees, summer plans

A very large check was presented to Town of Fenwick Island on April 22.

Representatives of the Delaware Department of Natural Resources & Environmental Control (DNREC) came to present a $21,293 matching grant for Fenwick’s new playground equipment, sponsored by the state Outdoor Recreation, Parks & Trails Program.

The playground was just completed in April.

Humans helping their habitat at Earth Day events

Earth Day is a 46-year tradition designed to show Mother Earth some love.

People can plan an eco-friendly project of their own (plant a tree and turn off a light bulb), but local towns and groups are also hosting Earth Day events all month, including the Bethany Beach Nature Center, in Fenwick Island, at the Indian River Life-Saving Station, in Millsboro and in South Bethany.

Fenwick Island approves height increase with freeboard

The Fenwick Island Town Council has approved a change in the Town’s old 30-foot building height limit. Depending on who tells the story, the change was rushed through in five weeks, or spread over 15 months.

Either way, buildings can now be up to 2 feet higher than before.

Local towns win park/playground grants from DNREC

Local park projects are getting their day in the sun after the Delaware Department of Natural Resources & Environmental Control (DNREC) announced its 2015 grant awards. Across the state, DNREC’s Outdoor Recreation, Parks & Trails Program is contributing just under $1.29 million to 14 parks and trails projects.

Freeman Stage announces lineup for ninth season

Coastal Point • R. Chris Clark: Michelle Freeman announces the 2016 roster of entertainers who will perform at Freeman Stage at Bayside this summer. The launch party has become an event unto itself each year.Coastal Point • R. Chris Clark: Michelle Freeman announces the 2016 roster of entertainers who will perform at Freeman Stage at Bayside this summer. The launch party has become an event unto itself each year.After a great deal of anticipation, the Freeman Stage at Bayside announced its 2016 summer season.

The season includes more than 70 performances, with 51 at the Stage in Selbyville. The lineup feature a diverse offering of dance, theatre, children’s performances and live music — including 13 National Recording Artists.

This year’s performers include three Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductees and, combined, have nearly 40 Grammy Awards and over 60 Grammy nominations; one Academy Award and two Oscars nominations; and three Country Music Association awards and nine CMA nominations.

The national acts include Phillip Phillips and Matt Nathanson on June 29; Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes on July 2; The Band Perry on July 3; Justin Moore on July 7; Pat Benatar and Melissa Etheridge on July 13; The Beach Boys on July 14; Cherry Poppin’ Daddies on July 16; Huey Lewis and The News on July 27; The Silk Road Ensemble and Yo-Yo Ma on Aug. 10; Gladys Knight on Aug. 19 and the Wailers on Aug. 27. Tickets for the performances will go on sale April 4 at 10 a.m.

Fire companies to hold live-fire drill on Saturday 3/19

The Roxana Volunteer Fire Company announced that they are hosting a live-fire drill on Saturday, March 19, between the hours of 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. at the now-vacant Twin Cedars Apartments, located at 36112 Zion Church Road near Frankford.
This drill has been in the making for at least 5 years and has taken countless hours of coordination between the departments, owner and government agencies.

Coons presses Corps for emergency beach repair funding

U.S. Sen. Chris Coons (D-Del.) last week asked a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers official if funds left over from Hurricane Sandy might be diverted to emergency repairs of the beaches and dunes at three of Delaware’s beach towns.

Fenwick committee split on freeboard

Some warn about wintertime perceptions

The Fenwick Island Charter & Ordinance Committee isn’t entirely comfortable with a proposed freeboard ordinance. In fact, the group was split on March 8 on whether they agreed with the law as written.

Fenwick houses may get higher soon as a freeboard reward

Some citizens oppose a new height limit

Freeboard has returned as an increasingly divisive topic at Fenwick Island Town Council meetings.

On Feb. 26, a number of residents opposed an ordinance that would allow Fenwick houses to surpass the 30-foot building height by 18 to 24 inches, based on adding that much more freeboard to the structure.

No more hotels (for now) as Fenwick passes moratorium

Fenwick Island will have no more than three hotels for the time being. The town council voted unanimously (with Councilman Roy Williams absent) on Feb. 26 to place a moratorium on new hotel/motel uses within town limits.

Post-storm beach repair not in the cards at present

In the wake of two storms that heavily damaged dunes and beaches in Bethany Beach, South Bethany and Fenwick Island, the potential for funding for shoring up the storm-beaten beaches remains unclear.

Last week, officials announced that there would be no funding this year for replenishment of those beaches in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ working plan for 2016.

Fenwick council opposes seismic testing for oil and gas

Fenwick Island is the latest town to join a long list of municipalities opposing seismic testing off the Atlantic coast. Besides the potential harm to hundreds of thousands of animals, the town should not have to face the threat of a possible future oil spill, the town council decided on Jan. 22.