Sussex County News

Sussex County, Delaware

Population:

  • 156,638 (2000 Census)

County council meetings

  • Tuesdays, 10 a.m. (second Tuesday of each month), council chambers, county administrative building; council meetings and other public meetings held in the council chambers are broadcast over the Internet

Planning & Zoning meets:

  • Thursdays, two to four times per month, 6 p.m.; occasional Wednesday afternoons; council chambers, county administrative building

Board of Adjustments meets:

  • Mondays, two to four times per month, 7 p.m.; council chambers, county administrative building

Elections:

  • Council members elected by district, to four-year terms; council president selected from among council members

County administrative building:

  • 2 The Circle, Georgetown, DE 19947; (302) 855-7700

Web site

General e-mail inquiries

County Council 2013-2014:

  • Michael Vincent, Council President, District 1
  • Samuel Wilson Jr., Council Vice-President, District 2
  • Joan Deaver, District 3
  • George B. Cole, District 4
  • Vance C. Phillips, District 5

County Administrator:

  • Todd Lawson

Council Administrative Staff:

  • Robin Griffith

Finance Director:

  • Gina Jennings

Public Information:

  • Chip Guy

Public Works Director:

  • Michael Brady

Director of Planning & Zoning:

  • Lawrence Lank

Director of Planning & Zoning Commission:

  • Robert C. Wheatley

Police:

  • Delaware State Police Troop 4

Sheriff:

  • Jeffrey Christopher

Emergency:

  • 911

Non-emergency police contact:

  • (302) 856-5850

Sewer service:

  • Sussex County provides central sewer service to communities throughout the county, while some private property owners and other communities utilize on-site septic or sewer systems of their own.

ACTION group upset with County not appealing AT&T decision

Ocean View resident Kathy Vengazo recently spoke before the Sussex County Council on behalf of the Allied Communities to Improve our Neighborhoods (ACTION) to voice their upset at the council regarding the council’s decision to not appeal the Superior Court ruling in the case of AT&T v. Sussex County Board of Adjustment.

Holts Landing celebrating 50 years with Family Fun Night

Coastal Point • Submitted: Holts Landing State Park offers the area a boat ramp, pier, hiking trails and so much more. The state park will celebrate 50 years with a Outdoor Family Fun Night on Tuesday, June 30, from 6:30 to 9 p.m.Coastal Point • Submitted: Holts Landing State Park offers the area a boat ramp, pier, hiking trails and so much more. The state park will celebrate 50 years with a Outdoor Family Fun Night on Tuesday, June 30, from 6:30 to 9 p.m.Holts Landing State Park may have already seen what seemed like its heyday, but to the state parks system and reinvigorated volunteers, now is the perfect time for a revival. The hidden park near Millville is celebrating its 50th anniversary with Outdoor Family Fun Night on Tuesday, June 30, from 6:30 to 9 p.m.

Outdoor games will be provided, such as cornhole, horseshoes and ladder golf (in which players attempt to loop a string with two golf balls around a ladder-shaped PVC pipe goal).

Park naturalists will do hands-on activities before the sun sets, including seining for critters in the bay. After dark, they’ll point out stellar constellations in the night sky.

Meanwhile, families can relax and roast marshmallows by a bonfire. Those attending should pack their own picnic dinners, bug spray and blankets for stargazing.

The Back Bay Strummers will bring their strings to perform live music.

Lewes Farmers Market moves to Shields this Saturday

Because the Sea Glass Festival will be held at the Lewes Historical Society this Saturday, June 27, the Historic Lewes Farmers Market will move to the Richard Shields Elementary School parking lot, just off the corner of Savannah Road and Sussex Drive. The Market will be open from 8 a.m. until noon.

The market will returns to the grounds of the Lewes Historical Society Saturday, July 4.

Former Ravens cheerleader pleads guilty to rape charge

Coastal Point • Maria Counts: Molly Shattuck, center, walks out of the Sussex County Courthouse behind her attorney, Eugene Maurer.Coastal Point • Maria Counts: Molly Shattuck, center, walks out of the Sussex County Courthouse behind her attorney, Eugene Maurer.Former Baltimore Ravens cheerleader Molly Shattuck, 48, pled guilty to one count of Rape in the Fourth Degree earlier this week.

The plea took place in Sussex County Superior Court on Tuesday, June 16, before Judge E. Scott Bradley. During the “plea by appointment,” Bradley asked Shattuck a number of questions.

Shattuck acknowledged that by pleading guilty she understood she was waiving her rights to a trial, which had been scheduled to begin June 22.

“Did you commit the offense you are pleading guilty to?” asked Bradley of Shattuck.

“Yes,” she replied.

Rape in the Fourth Degree is a Class C felony, and Shattuck faces a maximum of 15 years in prison. One of Shattuck’s attorneys, Eugene Maurer, stated in court that she has no prior convictions. She will be registered as a Tier II “moderate-risk” sex offender. She is to not have contact with any minors, with the exception of her three children.

In November 2014, a Grand Jury charged Shattuck with two counts of Rape in the Third Degree for performing oral sex on a minor who was 15 years old at the time. She was also charged with four counts of Unlawful Sexual Contact in the Second Degree, and three counts of Providing Alcoholic Liquor to a Minor. At that time, she pled not guilty and was released on $84,000 bond.

Human trafficking isn’t just a big-city problem

Coastal Point • Laura Walter: Yolanda Schlabach talks about the ugly truth of human trafficking in Delaware.Coastal Point • Laura Walter: Yolanda Schlabach talks about the ugly truth of human trafficking in Delaware.Christine McCoy was completely shocked the first time she heard Yolanda Schlabach speak about the ugly truth of human trafficking in Delaware.

“To me it was always oversees, or cities — not right here in Sussex County. And the more people that are aware, the better we can start fighting it,” said McCoy, president of Southern Sussex Rotary Club, where Schlabach spoke in May.

“Apparently, southern Delaware is a hotbed for this type of activity because of the rural nature of our communities and several other factors,” McCoy stated.

“Human trafficking is modern-day slavery and involves the use of force, fraud or coercion to obtain some type of labor or commercial sex act,” according to U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

Sussex County rebrands airport with new name, logo

Coastal Point • Submitted: The new logo for the Delaware Coastal Airport was created by Ben Muldrow of Milford, and his firm, Arnett Muldrow & Associates.Coastal Point • Submitted: The new logo for the Delaware Coastal Airport was created by Ben Muldrow of Milford, and his firm, Arnett Muldrow & Associates.With a majority vote, Sussex County Council this week approved the rebranding of the Georgetown Airport as Delaware Coastal Airport.

“We need to tell our story and position this facility for future growth,” said County Administrator Todd Lawson.

Rebranding is the latest step in a more-than-decade-long, nearly $40 million effort to modernize the facility and boost economic development, which includes extending the main runway, leasing new hangar space and replacing airport lighting.

Prior to the vote, Lawson said the airport has suffered from an “identity crisis.”

“Depending on who you speak to, many people refer to the facility by a number of names, including the County Airport, the Sussex County Airport, or the Georgetown airport — which most locals call the facility.

County opposes EPA’s rule relating to ‘Waters of the U.S.’

Sussex County Administrator Todd Lawson this week provided an update regarding the Environmental Protection Agency’s rule related to the “Waters of the United States” at the request of Councilman George Cole.

Lawson said the rule was introduced on May 27 and was written in conjunction with the EPA and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

Boaters on local waterways arrested for OUI

DNREC Division of Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police officers between May 18 and 24 made 2,784 contacts with anglers, boaters and the general public, including 667 vessel boardings for boating safety and fishing regulation compliance checks. Officers responded to 108 complaints and issued 94 citations.

Incidents of particular note were:

In case you missed it, there have been some changes here

Plenty has happened around the community over the off-season. In case you’ve been out of town, or have just been too busy to stay on top of things, here are some of the items that could most affect your summer season.

Time to consider the ‘Climate Framework for Delaware’

It’s time to see what Delaware has come up with to become more resilient to climate change.

The Governor’s Cabinet Committee on Climate & Resiliency (CCoCAR) has written 159 recommendations for reducing greenhouse gases, minimizing flood risks and increasing resilience to climate impacts (such as changes in temperature, precipitation or sea level).

Memorial Day event planned on The Circle this Sunday, May 24

The traditional Sussex County Memorial Day Service will be held on the Circle in Georgetown on Sunday, May 24, at 1:30 p.m. The co-sponsors are the Georgetown Kiwanis Club and the Korean War Veterans Association.

Route 26 moves to nighttime lane closures — for summer

Late-night work is getting a little later this summer on Route 26. The Delaware Department of Transportation was already scheduled to begin a second year of overnight work on the road construction project, from May 15 to Sept. 30, in a schedule designed to accommodate summer traffic.

County council reviews budget for 2016 fiscal year

This week, the Sussex County Council was presented with a proposed budget for the fiscal year 2016, at $128.6 million.

As it stands, there is no change in the County property tax rate or general fund fees in the proposed budget.

“That makes 26 years in a row that the County will not raise property taxes,” said Todd Lawson, county administrator.

Turkey hunters reminded about regulations

DNREC Division of Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police officers between April 20 and 26 made 729 contacts with anglers, hunters, boaters and the general public, including 115 vessel boardings for boating safety and fishing regulation compliance checks. Officers responded to 30 complaints and issued 17 citations.

County P&Z commissioners visit Shore Democrats

Coastal Point • Maria Counts: Sussex County Planning & Zoning Commissioner Rodney Smith, left, and Chairman Bob Wheatley addressed members of the Shore Democrats last week.Coastal Point • Maria Counts: Sussex County Planning & Zoning Commissioner Rodney Smith, left, and Chairman Bob Wheatley addressed members of the Shore Democrats last week.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.

County council members get a state legislative update

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.

Boys and Girls State students take over County chambers

Coastal Point • Maria Counts: High school juniors from across Sussex County filled Sussex County Chambers last week as part of the American Legion's Boys and Girls State program.Coastal Point • Maria Counts: High school juniors from across Sussex County filled Sussex County Chambers last week as part of the American Legion's Boys and Girls State program.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.

DNREC? eminds hunters about baiting prohibition

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.

Freeman Stage makes presentation to county council

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.”

Bridgeville golf tournament to honor fallen Marine

On May 9, golfers can play a round and celebrate a fallen U.S. Marine in the process. The second annual Cory Palmer Memorial Golf Tournament is being hosted by a group of the young man’s best friends that Saturday, at Heritage Shores Golf Club in Bridgeville.

Seaford resident Cory L. Palmer died on May 6, 2006, when his Humvee patrol was struck by a roadside bomb near Fallujah, Iraq.

Farewell to the Blue Route: DelDOT offers new solution to Millsboro traffic woes

From Millsboro to Selbyville, residents worried about plans for the future of Route 113 can breathe a sigh of relief. The Delaware Department of Transportation is scrapping the proposed 16.5-mile Route 113 bypass in favor of smaller road projects.

Coalition takes steps to address drug issues in county

The Sussex County Action Prevention Coalition (SCAPC) met this week to discuss the group’s mission to address the growing drug problem in the state and county.

“In order to conquer addiction in our communities, we need teamwork, we need programs, we need education,” said Jim Martin, who chairs the coalition.