Taking one final walk through 2007


It’s pretty hack, isn’t it?

The end of the year is firmly upon us, we all have about a zillion things going on in our respective lives, and this no-idea-having columnist is about to join the cliché fray and pen an article that looks back on all the things that happened in our community over the course of the departing year.

Pretty weak, huh? I completely agree. I would have much preferred to utilize this space to pontificate on my ideas for achieving world peace, feeding and clothing the poor and constructing the ultimate salami sandwich. But, here we are. You’re stuck there reading it, and I’m stuck here writing it. It’s kind of a bored bond we’ve forged, when you think about it.

However, as I began going back through our archives, I realized yet again that each year does indeed take on its own identity over time. For instance, I’ll always remember 2007 as the year I bonded with the love of my life, took in a new puppy and watched Ryan Saxton take the leap from talented young writer to solid reporter — my highest compliment to someone in that field. It was also a year that will stick in my head because of the Mitchell Report in Major League Baseball, the historical implications of a party’s presidential primary race being battled between a woman and a black man, and the release of a new candy by the fine people at Reese’s that will forever put a dent in any dieting plans I might have been fooling around with in my mind.

Indeed, there were also plenty of local things going on that make 2007 a year that we’ll all probably remember at least parts of over time — if we like it or not.

Here goes ...

The winds of January blew in, and longtime Sussex County Sheriff Robert Reed blew out of office when Eric Swanson became the new sheriff for the county. A farmer’s market was proposed to Bethany Beach officials, with plans on opening later this year and ESPN announced it would air the championship game of the Senior Softball World Series held in Roxana. On a personal note, I made some resolutions to lose weight, save some money and not take sports as seriously. I have since gained 10 pounds, can’t afford a box of Frosted Flakes to gain even more weight and personally wept close to 100 times over my Orioles losing yet another game.

February is the shortest month of the year, but this year’s edition of the month crammed in plenty of stuff locally. Sussex County Council decided to hear from residents regarding its latest comprehensive land use plan, Bethany Beach threw its support behind the aforementioned farmer’s market and a report stated that water levels in our area will rise between 7 and 23 inches by 2099. On the personal side, I bombed on a Valentine’s Day present, irritated Susan Lyons with a column I wrote and decided that I will wait until 2099 to decide whether or not it’s safe to walk my pug in downtown Bethany Beach still.

March marched in with news that a female employee at Mountaire Farms had contracted tubercleosis and all employees would then be tested, Donald Minyon became mayor of Millville, Fenwick Island named Anthony Carson town manager and John Atkins resigned his seat as representative of the 41st District following various allegations. The really big news for the month was that Bethany Beach and South Bethany had secured funding for beach replenishment efforts. Stay tuned. More happens on that subject. Personally, I realized that I could indeed stick my entire head in a tube sock if I removed the elastic, 7-3 is not an incredibly strong starting hand in Texas Hold’em and celebrating St. Patrick’s in the manner in which I did results in a hazy March, April, May and June.

April showers brought, well, Richard Nippes to the Ocean View Town Council. We also saw South Bethany officials react to a slumping real estate market by coming up with a conservative town budget based on lessening transfer taxes, Sussex County Council release the first draft of its comprehensive land use plan and Bethany Beach officials approve Captain Jack’s Pirate Mini-Golf course. In the world of Darin, I broke the land-speed record for eating a hamburger one night, thought I had a late growing spurt until I realized I was wearing my nephew’s pants and came across the wonderful world of the Travel Channel. I am so going to Laos some day.

“May flowers,” that’s how that saying goes. “April showers bring May flowers.” However, this year’s volume of May saw Sussex County Council Member Vance Phillips unveil his “denisty-for-dollars” ordinance, that allows builders to ignore zoning rules if they slip a few bucks county council’s way, work on the Indian River Inlet Bridge get stopped because of some union issues and the marina next to the bridge trying to get out of a controversy regarding its finances. The Indian River School District also opened up discussions on a school uniform policy and Greg Hastings won the 41st District representative seat. I had a life-altering event in Ireland, a waist-altering event at a buffet and a mind-altering evening courtesy the fine people at Jameson.

June brings people to the beach. The only problem is that this June saw our hopes for the Route 26 project get dashed as DelDOT faced yet another financial hurdle. Fenwick Island promoted William Boyden to serve as that town’s police chief and Millville officials discussed implementing a rental tax within the town. Personally, I’m always a big fan of bikinis returning to the community’s landscape every June, I discovered that you can indeed barbecue a steak while it’s still wrapped (though I wouldn’t suggest it) and I once again came to the realization that I indeed got into the wrong business when I opened my electric bill.

July comes with fireworks, but this year was pretty calm on the metaphor side. Ocean View police gave classes on bike safety to try to curb the number of bike-related accidents every summer, the sewer district for Johnson’s Corner got approved via a referendum and we learned that the drought had really put a hurting on local corn. I realized, yet again, that I had gotten into the wrong business when I saw my electric bill and decided to just put a fan on my dog’s tail rather than ever turn back on the air conditioning. I also had a pretty ugly incident with a taco ... but that’s another story.

August brings my birthday, but it also brought a darkness in me this year as Sussex County Council adopted the “denisty-for-dollars” ordinance. I’m not against people getting “up-zoned” for good reasons, but blanketly approving things for developers who have up-front money to spend while seemingly punishing smaller builders who can’t come up with that money until a project is completed is absolutely ...

But I digress. I’ve had my say on this one.

August also saw members of the Ocean View Town Council make up, following a rash of animated arguments, and Todd Smallwood and Vicki Carmean get on the Fenwick Island Town Council. State Sen. George H. Bunting announced that he would need a kidney transplant. On the personal side, well, I was pretty shaken by the Bunting thing. Good luck, sir. You have an entire community in your corner.

September brings about joy in this area — children go back to school, the roads begin to open up a little and there’s a little more space to spread out on the beach. Bethany Beach, in fact, had a pretty big month as Bob Parsons, Joseph Healy and Mayor Carol Olmstead won seats on the council through a town election and the town’s planning and zoning commission approved Justin’s Beach House — a home being built by local contractors, and through mainly local donations, that will allow victims of cancer and their families to have an enjoyable vacation in our community. On the personal side, I decided to start burning my electric bills in the winter for heat, I was excited about the new season for my Baltimore Ravens and I can say with no uncertainty that once you stick your head in a tube sock, you should not bother trying to wear that sock on laundry day. Well, not without stapling it to your leg or something.

October is the month of Halloween, and thus the month of dressing up to look like something you are not. Apparently, the beach in Bethany decided to dress as a giant dune, according to many of our readers. Replenishment efforts resulted in a big dune that was a giant aesthetic disaster to many Bethany residents, but people also marveled at the skills and speed of the workers on site. The South Coastal Library expansion was put on hold as administrative omissions in the winning bid were brought to light, and Bethany Beach officials balked at the prospect of a dog park in town. Personally, I was pretty happy with the Ravens being 4-2, but was a little worried about how ugly those wins were.

November is a time for thanks and, thankfully, the library project was back on — and $400,000 cheaper with the new round of bidding. Debbie Botchie was named town manager of Millville, and the state announced that all the problems with the Indian River Inlet Bridge had cost the state about $6 million. On a personal note, I finally had the tube sock removed from my leg and I did disgusting things to a Thanksgiving spread of food.

December. The jolly month. The month of joy. Unfortunately, another TB scare at Mountaire Farms required all the employees to be tested again. However, Patti Adams celebrated the month by being named mayor of Dagsboro, and the town of Ocean View began wrapping up its centralized water system. Personally, I made out like a bandit at Christmas and ate a ham. Not part of a ham, or a lot of ham. I ate a ham, dude. I also cried a little at my electric bill. When will I learn?