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.

Public invited to Route 54 traffic meeting on Sept. 19

Two-lane highways are under volume pressure as more houses and vehicles bring people to coastal Delaware. There will be a public meeting to discuss traffic conditions along Route 54 (Lighthouse Road) on Tuesday, Sept. 19, at 12:30 p.m. at the Roxana Volunteer Fire Company’s fire hall.

Festival Hispano will be dancing in the streets

Good music, food and fun will fill the streets of Georgetown at the 22nd annual Festival Hispano on Sunday, Sept. 17.

Thousands of people will celebrate Hispanic cultural heritage from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. The festival stretches along North Race Street, from Laurel Street to the Pepper Street stage.

People come from near and far to enjoy the Delmarva Peninsula event.

Small businesses go front-and-center

State Sen. Gerald Hocker and Gov. John Carney on Aug. 16 invited a small group of local businesspeople to join them for lunch and a roundtable discussion on the state’s economy and their concerns about their individual businesses and beyond.

Traffic stop leads to meth, heroin and ecstasy arrest

A speeding ticket led to a drug-related arrest earlier this month in Ocean View.

On Aug. 12, around 10 p.m., an Ocean View police officer stopped a motorcycle because the driver was allegedly driving at 76 mph in a posted 45 mph zone on Beaver Dam Road.

Sussex County drug-trafficking investigation nets 40 arrests

A multi-jurisdictional investigation into an illegal drug trafficking organization, involving multiple subjects, conducted by the Delaware State Police and Delaware Department of Justice, has concluded with the arrest or indictment of 40 individuals on more than 190 criminal charges.

County found in violation of FOIA in P&Z hire

The Sussex County Council took time at its Tuesday meeting this week to discuss a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) complaint filed by resident and council meeting regular Dan Kramer.

Paul F. ‘Pete’ Lynch

Paul F. “Pete” Lynch of Gumboro, Del., passed away peacefully at home on Aug. 1, 2017.

County council discusses special-events ordinance

After County Councilman George Cole said he had received calls regarding concerts at Hudson Fields outside of Milton, he asked staff to review what ordinances were in place to govern such events.

Area police warn people about driveway paving scam

Asphalt is the latest on the list of new scams. Con artists are travelling door-to-door to promise driveway paving services, but they just don’t deliver.

In Selbyville, “Subjects portrayed themselves as contractors for the municipality and told residents that their driveway must be repaved to bring it up to code,” the Town reported.

Wings & Wheels 2017 planning is officially under way

This year’s Wings & Wheels event is set to take place the weekend of Oct. 6-7.

Things will kick off that Friday, with Aviation Education Day, during which 125 high school students will spend the day at the Delaware Coastal Airport, learning from aviation experts. The 2017 featured speaker for Education Day is Joe Edwards, NASA shuttle commander.

New partnership rescues septic systems from despair

When people move into neighborhoods with a new homeowner association, they may not know what they’re in for. It’s not just house colors and mailbox height. Sometimes it’s road maintenance and a neighborhood-wide sewage system.

Hope for Dirickson Creek means volunteer action

Coastal Point • Laura Walter: U.S. Sen. Tom Carper speaks to the Dirickson Creek Team over the new State of Dirickson Creek report.Coastal Point • Laura Walter: U.S. Sen. Tom Carper speaks to the Dirickson Creek Team over the new State of Dirickson Creek report.Having lived along Dirickson Creek for 30 years, Lynn LeBrun wouldn’t let her grandchildren swim its waters anymore. In fact, anyone with an open cut risks serious bacterial infection from the waters of many parts of the Delaware inland bays. The creeks are beautiful but have serious health issues.

“I’ve been here for 30 years, and I’ve seen the creek change. The color of the water is darker. In the wintertime, you could see the bottom,” LeBrun said of a time decades ago.

“Cleaning up a water body like this is like trying to turn around an aircraft carrier,” said U.S. Sen. Tom Carper — it takes time, but it is possible.

And the movement has begun. The Dirickson Creek Team is a volunteer group that advocates for the creek and educates their neighbors and legislators. By helping protect the major local tributary, they’re hoping to impact the Little Assawoman Bay.

Delaware court honors veterans, bailiff raises donations

Coastal Point • Maria Counts: Oscar Gonzales, with his children, Diego, Niko and Henry, created a shadow box so veterans could display their awards anonymously.Coastal Point • Maria Counts: Oscar Gonzales, with his children, Diego, Niko and Henry, created a shadow box so veterans could display their awards anonymously.Prior to gaveling in the start of a Veterans Treatment Court session last week, Delaware Superior Court Judge Richard F. Stokes took time to call attention to the great work being done for veterans in Sussex County.

“A lot of good things are happening because we have a great number of people and organizations that are pitching in for our veterans,” said Stokes.

He called attention to Home of the Brave in Milford, a non-profit whose mission is to “reduce homelessness among our military veteran population,” and its executive director Jessica Finian.

Home of the Brave not only offers transitional housing for male and female veterans (along with their children), but also assists with employment, counseling services, access to healthcare, transportation and locating affordable housing.

“She has what I call a ‘can-do’ attitude,” said Stokes. “Nothing was handed to Jessica. It was her mission to establish facilities to take care of homeless veterans... It didn’t come easy. She had to go to bat several times…

“I want you to be recognized for the good work that you do,” he told her.

Also, on June 29, Stokes called out the efforts of Superior Court Chief of Security Rene Flores Sr., who served in the U.S. Army and Air Force reserve, beginning his military career in 1987. Flores retired as a senior master-sergeant, having been deployed in various combat areas, including Afghanistan and Iraq.

Flores reached out to his colleagues throughout Georgetown to collect a great many household goods, a “wish-list of items,” to donate to Home of the Brave.

County denies conditional-use application for ‘tiny home’ campus

The Sussex County Council voted unanimously this week to deny a conditional-use application for a “tiny home” campground in the Long Neck area.

Architect and property owner Joy Marshall Ortiz told the council she wanted to create a small, sustainable small-home community on her 4.199-acre property, located on the north side of Cordrey Road, approximately 800 feet west of Streets Road.

Sussex County Council approves $143M budget for 2018FY

The Sussex County Council this week unanimously approved its proposed $143 million budget for the 2018 fiscal year.

Prior to approving the budget, the council approved a number of ordinances related to the draft budget. Among the changes, the council voted unanimously to implement a $20 recording fee for a marriage license, a fee that New Castle County currently charges.

County council discusses code on special events

Following up on an inquiry by Councilman George Cole at a May meeting of the Sussex County Council, the council this week discussed the definition of “Special Events” within the Sussex County Code.

Mid-Sussex EMS chief charged with sexual assault

Delaware State Police this week charged the chief of emergency medical services for the Mid-Sussex Rescue Squad with both unlawful sexual contact and sexual harassment in connection with an alleged assault on a fellow EMT in early May.

County gets update on fighting veteran homelessness

The Sussex County Council this week received an update on the Mayors Challenge to end Veteran Homelessness initiative, in which Sussex County, along with the towns of Blades, Bridgeville, Georgetown, Greenwood, Seaford, as well as the State of Delaware, participated.

County reveals proposed $143.8M 2018 budget

Earlier this week, the Sussex County Council reviewed its $143.8 million draft budget for the 2018 fiscal year.

In a presentation by County Administrator Todd Lawson and County Finance Director Gina Jennings at the May 16 council meeting, the council was first given a rundown as to the highlights of the previous fiscal year’s budget.

Long Neck community looks for more police

Long Neck Strong group asks for help with safety

Residents of Long Neck want to keep their community safe and are taking steps to do so. A group of citizens attended the May 9 Sussex County Council meeting to speak to the council about their safety needs.

County discusses trash, illegal dump sites

Trash has been a topic of discussion for some time in Sussex County. Over the years, County Councilman Sam Wilson has voiced his upset with littering, and Councilman Rob Arlett recently focused on illegal dump sites.

At the May 9 council meeting, County Constable Ryan Stuart said one of the main responsibilities of his office is to handle property-maintenance complaints.

County council gets an update from the Freeman Stage

Patti Grimes, of the Joshua M. Freeman Foundation, gave Sussex County Council an update on The Freeman Stage at Bayside on April 11.

“If you can believe it, this is our 10th year,” said Grimes. “We want to thank Sussex County for being such a great partner and to let you know that what started as a vision in an arts desert in 2008 has turned into a thriving arts area.”

Burton to serve 30 years for Bennett murder

Matthew BurtonMatthew BurtonOn Wednesday, April 5, Dagsboro resident Matthew Burton admitted to having committed the rape and murder of Nicole Bennett nearly five years ago.

As reported by the Cape Gazette newspaper, Delaware Superior Court Judge E. Scott Bradley asked Burton if he raped and murdered Bennett.

“Yes,” replied Burton.

Burton, who was 28 at the time of the murder, is now 33. Last week, he pled guilty to second-degree murder, being sentenced to 40 years, suspended after 15 years, and second-degree rape, for which he was sentenced to 25 years, also suspended after 15.

As a result, Burton will serve a total of 30 years in a Level 5 prison facility, with credit for time served, after which he will serve 20 years on probation.

County purchases property to expand industrial park

Sussex County recently purchased King Farm, a 74-acre property off Park Avenue, east of Georgetown, for $2.2 million. The property will be added to the adjacent Sussex County Industrial Park, which currently houses 20 businesses that employ approximately 900 people.

County council discusses state budget, reassessment

Sussex County officials are looking ahead at the possibility of a statewide property reassessment and potential impacts at the county government level as state officials work to prepare a 2018-fiscal-year budget that they hope will address a $350 million state budget shortfall coming in to Gov. John Carney’s term.