Earth Day with Eric Energy

Dry ice fog with Eric Energy

Coastal Point • Shaun M. Lambert: Eric Energy teaches kids about different kinds of energy at an Earth Day celebration at the Bethany Beach Nature Center last weekend. Here Eric shows the children the fog created when you add dry ice to water.

This Week's News

Questions arise over IRSD financial officer’s leave of absence

The Indian River School District has pulled its longtime chief financial officer out of the office.

Aquaculture plan getting another public meeting

Talk about commercial shellfish aquaculture in the inland bays is continuing, officially and otherwise. The public can speak at a public hearing on Wednesday, June 8, hosted by Delaware Department of Natural Resources & Environmental Control (DNREC). The hearing begins at 6 p.m. at the South Coastal Library in Bethany Beach.

Bail set at $1.5M cash for accused Dagsboro murderer

A Sussex County Superior Court judge has set bail at $1.5 million for accused murderer Matthew Burton of Dagsboro.

On Monday, April 25, Judge E. Scott Bradley set a cash bail of $500,000 for each count upon which he was charged — two counts of first-degree murder and one count of first-degree rape — in connection with the 2012 murder of Nicole Bennett.

Earth Day marks opening of revamped features at Holts Landing

Coastal Point • Kerin Magill : The new boat ramp at Holts Landing State Park allows space for two boats to enter or exit the water at the same time.Coastal Point • Kerin Magill : The new boat ramp at Holts Landing State Park allows space for two boats to enter or exit the water at the same time.With a ribbon-cutting ceremony set against an oncoming rainstorm, state officials joined volunteers at the edge of the Indian River Bay on Friday, April 22, to dedicate the new boat ramp at Holts Landing State Park near Millville.

“It’s wonderful to be here on Earth Day to celebrate the completion of this innovative boat ramp, the largest project ever undertaken at Holts Landing State Park,” said Ray Bivens, director of the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control’s (DNREC’s) Division of Parks & Recreation.

The impending weather provided a fitting backdrop at that particular spot, which is continually battered by tides coming from the Indian River Inlet and has suffered damage over and over again in storms.

DNREC Secretary David Small told the assembled crowd, heavy with volunteers from the Friends of Holts Landing State Park, that the new “state-of-the-art” dual ramp will serve the growing southeastern Sussex County area for years to come.

Message in a bottle found at IR Inlet, 45 years later

Special to the Coastal Point • Submitted: The Berenty family has laminated a 45-year-old letter that they found in a bottle north of the Indian River Inlet (Note: The Coastal Point blurred out the address).Special to the Coastal Point • Submitted: The Berenty family has laminated a 45-year-old letter that they found in a bottle north of the Indian River Inlet (Note: The Coastal Point blurred out the address).On Sept. 6, 1971, a young girl stood atop the old Indian River Inlet bridge. During a family camping trip at the beach, 10-year-old Karen Ball stared at the running water, where she had just thrown a bottle with a handwritten letter inside.

On April 22, 2016, Andy Berenty and his family were enjoying a surf-fishing trip of their own when they came upon an old soda bottle in the sand at Delaware Seashore State Park.

Still within sight of the modern inlet bridge, the Berenty family unearthed the 45-year-old soda bottle on the northern drive-on beach.

“We found this old 7-Up bottle with a screw top, and we noticed something in it,” Berenty said.

Thanks to the Internet, they found Ball still living in Stroudsburg, Pa., where she was amazed that someone had found her childhood letter.

“I remember when I threw it in, I thought, ‘Someone in China or something is gonna find it,’” Ball said. “Years later, I’m thinking it’s gone. It’s just so funny it survived.”

She still vacations in Rehoboth Beach, always detouring to go reminisce at the inlet.

“Oh, my gosh, we used to spend so much time at the inlet, [during] summers, from the time I was little,” said Ball, who loved fishing with her father. “We had a lot of fun there.”

At that time, Delaware Seashore State Park was only about six years old, although people had camped there for years beforehand.

Millville council considers sign update and peddler fees

The Millville Town Council discussed a little of everything during two April meetings, with topics ranging from food trucks to cell phone towers.

Food trucks and other vendors don’t currently have a permitting system in town. On April 26, the council considered a proposal to regulate them a bit more.

Food trucks are flat-out forbidden from just parking in town during lunchtime.

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.

Community urged to ‘take back’ unwanted medications

This weekend, a number of area police departments will be taking part in the National Prescription Drug Take-Back initiative, conducted by the U.S. Department of Justice’s Drug Enforcement Administration.

Breakfast fundraiser to raise funds for Lighthouse Christian

To help raise funds for its Learning Assistance Program, Lighthouse Christian School will be holding its annual spring breakfast fundraiser this weekend.

Annual Native Plant sale set to bloom this weekend at James Farm

No matter how a garden grows, the “Gardening for the Bays” Native Plant Sale set for Saturday, April 30, has something to make it even more spectacular this year.

The annual sale, which will be held from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the James Farm Ecological Preserve on Cedar Neck Road in Ocean View, offers thousands of plants for sun, shade, wet gardens and sandy soils.

Bethany Coldwell Banker office collecting food donations

Realtors at Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage in Bethany Beach are doing their part to support those who need a helping hand. From now until May 8, Coldwell Banker will be collecting healthy nonperishable food items.

Bail, even a high one, is a risky proposition

In 2012, members of the U.S. Marshal’s Task Force arrested Dagsboro resident Matthew Burton in connection with the murder of Millsboro’s Nicole Bennett. It was a disturbing crime, both by the nature of the death, and the fact that Bennett and Burton both worked at the Bayshore Community Church in Gumsboro, and were fairly well-known to many in the community.

Our visitors should be welcomed with open arms

The sun is shining, the birds are chirping and that dark ring that exists in the armpit area of my shirts is getting regrettably darker.

Don’t ignore gardening pains. It could signal something worse

Most people do not head for the garden planning to finish the day with aches and pains or a serious injury. Tending flowers, trimming bushes, planting a new tree, and even mowing the lawn can be considered a way to relax and enjoy the outdoors. For the gardener, nothing is more satisfying than stepping back and seeing how beautiful it all is.

Williams brings learning to the youngest of students

Coastal Point • Kerin Magill : Wanda Williams poses with some of the toys she uses to teach Kindergarten at East Millsboro Elementary School. Williams was recently named the school’s Teacher of the Year.Coastal Point • Kerin Magill : Wanda Williams poses with some of the toys she uses to teach Kindergarten at East Millsboro Elementary School. Williams was recently named the school’s Teacher of the Year.Wanda Williams has taught kindergarten through third grade for more than 38 years, but kindergarten is by far her favorite age group. Williams, East Millsboro Elementary School’s Teacher of the Year, said she enjoys being part of molding the littlest students into lifelong learners.

“Even though they may have had preschool,” Williams said, “we really set their foundation for them in kindergarten.”

Williams’ classroom is clearly designed to foster students who are thinkers and questioners. In fact, the first thing they encounter inside her colorful classroom is a wall loaded with questions, for which they are encouraged to seek answers.

Gone are the days, Williams said, when kindergarten was all about coloring within the lines and learning to get along with others.

“Kindergarten is a whole different ballgame now,” she said.

At the beginning of each school year, Williams said, she has some students “who don’t even know how to hold a pencil.” Many need help with basic skills. By the end of the year, those kindergarteners will be writing not just words but sentences. Lots of sentences, in fact — “six, seven, eight sentences,” she said with a smile.

Each day’s lesson in Williams’ classroom, her 22 students have lessons in math, science, social studies, mathematics, reading and writing. While that might sound kind of dry and not much fun for 5- and 6-year-olds, Williams explained that they still get to move around a lot and that lessons are packaged in ways that capture the students’ attention and imagination.

Civil War Profiles: Civil War soldiers were not all volunteers

When President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation on Jan. 1, 1863, and Congress passed the Civil War Military Draft Act on March 3, 1863, these combined initiatives caused widespread reaction among opposition groups in the North. Citizens of New York and Pennsylvania, in particular, reacted negatively to these Washington-based decrees.

MVFC members receive Phoenix Awards for life-saving measures

Coastal Point • Submitted: Among the Millville VFC members recognized for their life-saving efforts were: Stephen Gilbert, Dillon Baker, John Watson, Brian McConlogue, Aaron Driscoll, Marissa Carmello, Robert Richardson, Madeline McGrath and Doug Scott. Not pictured are Richie Walls and Nick Harrington.Coastal Point • Submitted: Among the Millville VFC members recognized for their life-saving efforts were: Stephen Gilbert, Dillon Baker, John Watson, Brian McConlogue, Aaron Driscoll, Marissa Carmello, Robert Richardson, Madeline McGrath and Doug Scott. Not pictured are Richie Walls and Nick Harrington.On Saturday, April 9, the Sussex County Paramedics sponsored the 2016 Phoenix Awards at the Roxana Volunteer Fire Company. The Phoenix Awards are given to first-responders who were integral in providing emergency care to someone who was in cardiac arrest and lived to tell about it. The ceremony is designed to reunite survivors with his or her responders in a celebration of life.

In all, 11 members of the Millville Volunteer Fire Company were honored at the ceremony for their participation in saving someone’s life. For the survivors who were able to be in attendance, there were plenty of hugs and handshakes being exchanged, since this was the first time the individuals have seen each other since the day of the rescue.

“The Millville Volunteer Fire Company is very fortunate to have a Lucas device placed on each one of its ambulances since January 2015,” noted MVFC PIO Bob Powell. “This was a direct result of business owners and the citizens we serve stepping up to the plate to assist in the purchase of these devices.”

IR track sets school records in home opener

Coastal Point • Tripp Colonell : Sophomore Carly Collins, right, celebrates with junior Madelyn Parcells after Parcells’ state preliminary qualifying jump.Coastal Point • Tripp Colonell : Sophomore Carly Collins, right, celebrates with junior Madelyn Parcells after Parcells’ state preliminary qualifying jump.The Indian River High School track team got more than just two key wins over Seaford and Holy Grove in their first home meet of the season, on Tuesday, April 19, with four different school records going down on the day.

For the boys, it was senior Logan Montouri clocking in a 2:12.63 for not only first place finishes over Seaford and Holly Grove but a new IR record in the 800m.

After senior Paiton Murray had set her own school record in discus, with a 75-foot, 8-inch spin earlier this season, senior Katelyn Jensen followed suit at the quad-meet also featuring Lake Forest, posting a 6:14 in the 1600m.

Sophomore Carly Collins broke the 300m hurdle record with a time of 52.82, and the girls’ 4-by-800-meter relay team of freshman Sarah Roehl, junior Sydney Messick, sophomore Jewel Yanek and Jensen set a new standard with an 11:36.

While all that record-shattering may seem overwhelming, it was by no means a surprise to head coach Bob Hahn, who said he expects to see more records fall before the season is through, based on what he’s seen from his squad so far this season.

“This is the hardest-working group of kids that I’ve coached since I’ve been here,” said Hahn, who’s led the track team for going on six seasons. “They seem to really enjoy the sport, and they seem to enjoy each other. They’re coming out here, giving 110 percent, and making themselves better each and every day.”

Indians down Delmar, Dover to keep playoff hopes alive

Coastal Point • Tripp Colonell: Junior goalie Hayden McWilliams makes a critical save in the final minute against Dover to allow the Indians to hang on for the win.Coastal Point • Tripp Colonell: Junior goalie Hayden McWilliams makes a critical save in the final minute against Dover to allow the Indians to hang on for the win.Coming off a 13-5 win against the Salisbury School and sitting at 2-4 on the season, the Indian River High School boys’ lacrosse team knew they had a streak they needed to start to stay in post-season contention.

And after taking down Delmar 10-5 on Wednesday, April 20, and Dover 14-13 on Friday, April 22, the Indians looked primed to do just that, firing on all cylinders as they approach a crucial stretch of schedule.

“Our goal for the week was to go 3-0,” said junior goalie Hayden McWilliams. “Obviously, the best thing to do would be to win the conference, so we just gotta keep working until we get there.”

“This week was about buy-in,” said coach Dave Spencer, “them discovering the team that they really can be. That’s a big step forward for a group like this.”

IR girls’ lax falls to Padua in back-and-forth battle

Coastal Point • Tripp Colonell: Sophomore goalkeeper Mya Parks makes one of a career-high 15 saves against Padua on Monday, April 25.Coastal Point • Tripp Colonell: Sophomore goalkeeper Mya Parks makes one of a career-high 15 saves against Padua on Monday, April 25.The Indian River High School girls’ lacrosse team already had three wins on the season. But, oddly enough, none of them would compare to their 17-12 loss to Padua on Monday, April 25.

“That was, hands down, the best game of our season,” said head coach Kelsea Ayers. “Even though we didn’t win today, this was such a great stepping stone. We started to finally do the things that we need to be doing.”

“We’re all really happy, because this was definitely our best game,” added sophomore goalie Mya Parks. “Everyone just definitely worked together. Ground balls, winning draws — we started to crash more on defense, which definitely helped. New people were scoring and new people were catching the ball and keeping with it. It was just a good game.”

Indians down Dover, Smyrna to stay unbeaten

Coastal Point • Tripp Colonell: Senior Madi Mercer tries to get forward on a Dover defender on Saturday, April 23.Coastal Point • Tripp Colonell: Senior Madi Mercer tries to get forward on a Dover defender on Saturday, April 23.It was all about the harmony when the Indian River High School girls’ soccer team took on Dover on Saturday, April 23.

Just minutes after hitting all the right notes and singing the national anthem to start the game, senior forward Emma Engel was hitting the back of the net for her fourth goal of the season.

“I like to sing and play the guitar and everything, so I wasn’t really nervous,” said Engel, who recently performed in the IRHS variety show. “I noticed that [Dover wasn’t] super-strong in the back, so I was ready to capitalize on that. I just kind of stepped into it, got control and placed it into the net.”

The on-field harmony continued when senior midfielder Brooke Beam sent a through ball to junior forward Maddie Hogsten, who skipped a shot past the keeper to make it 2-0 in the 10th minute.

Indians end blues with 9-4 win over Jays

Coastal Point • Shaun M. Lambert: Freshman pitcher J.J. Killen eyes the strike zone after getting the start against Seaford on Saturday, April 23.Coastal Point • Shaun M. Lambert: Freshman pitcher J.J. Killen eyes the strike zone after getting the start against Seaford on Saturday, April 23.The momentum was all but lost for the Indian River High School baseball team headed into their matchup against Seaford on Saturday, April 23.

A tough stretch of schedule had kept the young squad from the win column through nine games, and a tough stretch at that plate had kept them off the board through four innings.

Enter senior 2B/P Jake Hudson. With his team down 4-0, Hudson got the Indians out of the fifth inning with only five pitches — forcing two outs on his first two counts, then racking up three strikes for the trifecta as the momentum began to swing along with the frustrated Blue Jay bats.

“Anytime you get out of an inning with five pitches, it just picks the team up and makes you start believing,” said head coach Chris Megee. “[Jake] had a lot of confidence on the mound.”

Cain, Lovelace cap win in extra sets for IR girls’ tennis

Coastal Point • Tripp Colonell: Senior Tiffany Cain knocks down a shot while junior Mariayna Lovelace waits for the return during the duo’s third set against Lake Forest on Monday, April 25.Coastal Point • Tripp Colonell: Senior Tiffany Cain knocks down a shot while junior Mariayna Lovelace waits for the return during the duo’s third set against Lake Forest on Monday, April 25.Not only was their game on the line when Tiffany Cain and Mariayna Lovelace took the court for their third set against the Lake Forest seniors Katherine Mello and Olivia Hobbs on Monday, April 25, but so was the match, and potentially, so were the team’s Henlopen South title hopes.

But despite the pressure, the first doubles duo delivered, taking it 6-3 and sealing the win for the Indian River High School girls’ tennis team that improved them to 3-4 overall on the season and 2-1 in the division.

“Definitely some MVPs,” said head coach Stefanie Riddle of the clutch performance. “I expected no less, because they keep it together. They pump each other up. They don’t worry about the crowd — they focus, and that’s all they had to do today was focus, and they came back and won.”

Special Olympics soccer skills competitions to be held statewide

More than 1,000 Special Olympics Delaware athletes and Unified partners (peers without a disability) will compete in soccer events across the state during the month of May.

Coastal Kayak offering three fundraiser paddles this summer

Coastal Kayak of Fenwick Island has planned three fundraisers for local charities for the summer of 2016.

IRHS BPA, FFA to host color-run fundraiser

The students of the Indian River High School Business Professionals of America (BPA) and Future Farmers of America (FFA) will walk, jog and run to raise funds for the school, which is introducing a program called My School Color Run (MSCR).

Boaters urged to check gear before putting vessels in the water

With warm weather finally having arrived, DNREC’s Division of Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police this week reminded boaters to make sure their vessel is ready for a trouble-free day enjoying Delaware’s waterways by performing a pre-departure check. Before hooking up your boat trailer, boaters should have:

NARFE golf tournament to raise funds for Alzheimer’s research

Registration is under way for the annual golf tournament to raise funds for Alzheimer’s research and the Sussex Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association, sponsored by Coastal Sussex Chapter 1690 of the National Active & Retired Federal Employees Association (NARFE).

Prison culinary program to open in Haley’s memory

Prison inmates in Smyrna live a life surrounded by barbed wire. Visitors to the James T. Vaughn Correctional Center (JTVCC) can only meet with inmates by passing through a series of automatically locked antechambers — so many that it’s easy to lose count.

County sign ordinance introduced

After months of discussions, the Sussex County Council this week introduced an ordinance that would revise the County’s current signage regulations.

For nearly a year, the council has been working to revamp its sign ordinance, after Councilman George Cole raised concerns related to billboards.

South Bethany cancels council election

South Bethany won’t require a 2016 town council election, as exactly four candidates have offered to fill the available three council seats and mayoral spot.

Twardzik to be sworn in as OV councilman

Coastal Point • Shaun M. Lambert: Frank and Colleen Twardzik pose for a photo outside their home in?Ocean View. Frank will be sworn in as a town councilman April 26, at 6 p.m.Coastal Point • Shaun M. Lambert: Frank and Colleen Twardzik pose for a photo outside their home in?Ocean View. Frank will be sworn in as a town councilman April 26, at 6 p.m.Having been involved behind the scenes in local politics for a number of years, Ocean View resident Frank Twardzik is finally stepping behind the dais to serve as an Ocean View town councilman.

Twardzik and his wife, Colleen, built their home in 1991, and have been attending town council meetings ever since.

“I rarely missed a council meeting. Then, a number of years ago, we had the opportunity to get involved in some of the local elections here. My wife and I were the campaign managers for Geoff Christ and Michele Steffans, and we were also the campaign managers for Tom Sheeran,” he said. “We had a small hand in changing the atmosphere of the town council.

“I thought, ‘Well, it’s about time I throw my name into the hat.’ Several people in town asked me to consider running, and I agreed to run.”