Financial concerns dominated Tuesday night’s meeting of the Ocean View Town Council, as council members wrangled with falling revenue, an increasing need for space for town operations and questions about how much value to place on a public safety program championed by the town’s police chief.
Town Manager Cliff Graviet announced on April 17 that the long-planned and long-running Streetscape project in Bethany Beach was officially complete — except for a few “punchlist” items.
Newly constructed roads and sidewalks need hours, if not days, to set properly. But after that, the painted white lines can dry in just three minutes, noted road workers putting the finishing touches on Bethany Beach’s Streetscape project on April 17.
Yet, that high speed also needs high heat.
Ben Villegas used a blowtorch to heat a handcart of melted white thermoplastic to about 400 degrees. That’s much hotter than regular asphalt, and it’s not something one wants to touch.
“You only do it a couple times,” Brett Johns said ruefully. “Then you learn your lesson.”
They had already completed the striping for the parking spaces and were creating “pavement markings,” including the arrows and text for the Garfield Parkway turn lanes.
Although he could draw the arrows free-hand, Mark Johns opted to stencil a quick outline with spray paint, to ensure uniformity on identical arrows so closely placed on the roadway.
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.
Former state senate candidate Eric Bodenweiser, 56, of Georgetown will not be serving jail time after pleading “no contest” in Sussex County Superior Court on March 18 to two counts of third-degree unlawful sexual contact.
Superior Court Judge E. Scott Bradley sentenced Bodenweiser to one year of supervised probation, and he must register as a Tier I sex offender.
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.
Emma Rider has collected 100,000 pairs of shoes in five years. But those are just the tips of the laces that tie her tale together.
At 18, Rider has a knack for transforming old kicks into clean water. She explained the basics to the Lord Baltimore Lioness Club on April 16.
“One billion people lack access to safe water,” Rider said.
Ocean View is a small, quaint town. This is a natural progression of the years and population growth. The fact that it is a nice place to live, and increasingly so in the last three years, is because elected officials have worked hard to ensure that the Town remains fiscally responsible, that we listen to what the residents want but we make our decisions based on what is best for the long-term good of the Town and avoid kneejerk reactions to momentarily hot topics.
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.
After taking over the Dagsboro-area business formerly known as Goodfella’s, Lovetti’s Pizza owner Brian Lovett knew that it might take some time to establish a reputation for his new venture. But he also knew that the best way to do that was simple: good food and good service. And that’s exactly what he set out to do.
“I take a lot of pride in my food,” said Lovett. “It’s like mom and dad are making the food.”
While he’s just recently set up shop near Dagsboro, Lovett has been in the restaurant industry throughout his life, getting his knowledge of Italian cuisine by training with chefs in Philadelphia, where he’s originally from. That knowledge includes all types of pizza, but Lovetti’s offers up much more.
“I do more than just pizza,” he said. “I make my own chicken wings, mozzarella sticks… I do everything from scratch. That’s the major difference here.”
In 2007, a 12-foot-tall and 16-foot-wide granite memorial rose from the ground upon its unveiling at the Marvel Museum in Georgetown. The dedication of this monument was the fulfillment of the Delaware Grays Camp #2068, Sons of Confederate Veterans, pledge to honor those Delawareans who served the Confederate States of America during the Civil War.
Native plants are the best of both worlds; they bring natural beauty and wildlife to the back yard, but they were also meant to live in coastal Delaware, so they are less likely to need extra water or nutrients.
Their popularity accounts for the 11th year of the Gardening for the Bays Native Plant Sale, on Saturday, May 2, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. The nighttime cocktail party also returns on the eve of the sale.
Organizer Sally Boswell of event sponsor the Delaware Center for the Inland Bays called this the “one-stop-shop for going native in your garden,” hosted annually at James Farm Ecological Preserve on Cedar Neck Road in Ocean View.
“The big stores, for the most part — they have not gotten into native plant offerings in their nurseries. So it’s our small, local, independent nurseries that are leading the way in that,” said Boswell.
Five nurseries will sell thousands of flowers, shrubs, grasses and trees.
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.
Lawless reflects on time on council
At this week’s Ocean View Town Council meeting, councilman Bill Olsen suggested the Town request that the two temporary traffic signals at the intersections of Windmill Avenue with Central Avenue and Cedar Drive with Central Avenue remain in place following construction.
Following eight hours at the polls, Ocean View residents had made their voices heard by electing Carol Bodine to serve as District 4 councilperson for the next three years.
Bodine was one of four candidates running for the council seat held by term-limited councilman Bob Lawless.
Bodine, a Wedgefield resident, won the seat with 133 votes. Candidate Kent Liddle received 85 votes, Jon DeBuchananne received 23 votes, and Don Walsh received 14.
“I’m thrilled at the results,” said Bodine. “I’m honored that I was with such a qualified group and that I still won. They were all good people and would’ve done a good job.”
During the campaign, Bodine, along with friends and family, campaigned throughout the town and were able to knock on the door of every voter.
“We didn’t miss a house… I had a great team. We knocked on every door in three weeks. We covered all of the Ocean View voters. … When people were coming out to vote, they told me, ‘You were the one who came to the door, and I appreciated that.’
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.”
Delaware State Police continue to investigate a Dagsboro home-invasion robbery that occurred in late January.
According to police, on Jan. 23, about 11:15 p.m., a 26-year-old woman returned from work to her home on Piney Neck Road and parked in her driveway. There, they said, three black men confronted her as she exited her vehicle.
At that time, police said, she was forced to the ground, with one of the suspects allegedly displaying an unknown make and model of handgun. Two of the suspects then allegedly forced her into the residence and demanded money.
According to the DSP, the victim complied and gave one of the suspects an undisclosed amount of money. The victim reported that a third black man stood next to the residence.
The South Bethany Town Council will see some new faces after the May 23 election. Six residents are currently competing for three seats, but councilmembers Tony Caputo, Jim Gross and Al Rae did not file for reelection. The positions carry a two-year term.
Pending their eligibility reviews on April 17, candidates include Elizabeth Baker, Don Boteler, Joel Danshes, Wayne Schrader, Carol Stevenson and Frank Weisgerber. (William Bombright withdrew shortly after filing.)
Absentee ballots are available for any resident unable to vote at Town Hall on May 23. To request an absentee ballot, residents should contact Town Hall for an affidavit. After that is returned, a ballot will be mailed. They can also visit Town Hall in person to complete both forms during regular operating hours. Absentee ballots must be filed with the Town no later than 3 p.m. on election day.
The civil trial of former Sussex County councilman Vance Phillips began early this week in the Kent County Courthouse, dealing with allegations that Phillips had sexually assaulted and threatened a young woman who had worked on his political campaign.
After being called to a residence on Parkview Street in Millville by the Sea around 9 p.m. on April 2 for a reported domestic incident, Delaware State Police subsequently arrested a 62-year-old Ocean View man on drug charges.
Parade to stay at night into the future
Having heard a presentation from the Delaware Department of Transportation on plans for improvements to Routes 113 and 24 prior to the official start of their April 6 meeting, the Millsboro Town Council covered a number of issues from around the town.
The council approved an updated list of residential planned community (RPC) standards. The compilation included the various agreements that the Town and developers of Plantation Lakes have approved, but all in one place.
Selbyville memories and history filled the sunny parlor recently as neighbors chatted over coffee and cookies. The Selbyville Public Library’s Selbyville Reminisce — an informal discussion held on Saturdays — recently kicked off, open to anyone who wants to come.
“People love to talk about Selbyville past, and there are so many people who lived through it and love sharing their experiences,” said Library Director Kelly Kline.
“Also, there are so many people moving to Selbyville who don’t know the history of their town,” she said.
Last week, representatives of the Ocean View Historical Society attended a hearing before the Delaware State Review Board for Historic Preservation, following the nomination of the Evans-West House to the National Register of Historic Places.
The Evans-West House is to be donated to the historical society by the Brunner family, which has owned the home since it was built in 1900.
“They have decided they are donating this property to the historical society. We’re going to take this property and turn it into the Coastal Towns Museum, and it will be a joint effort between the Towns of Fenwick Island, South Bethany, Bethany, Ocean View and Millville,” said Richard Nippes, president of the historical society.
As a young father, wants to be involved in his children’s education and give a voice to other parents. That’s part of his reasoning for entering the Indian River School Board’s 2015 election.
Goldman is one of three candidates for a single District 4 seat, representing Frankford, west Dagsboro and points east. (Two candidates have already withdrawn from the race.)
“I noticed, on the school board itself, there doesn’t seem to be a lot of representation from people with families, with the children in the school district,” he said.
Goldman expects to spend the next 20 years as an IRSD parent. The Ocean View resident has 4-year-old twins and a 1-year-old baby.
“The girls will be enrolling in kindergarten a year from this fall. I wanted to start getting involved,” said Goldman, who moved to the area in 2008.
“I think that there needs to be more involvement from parents,” he said. “I think the future of the school district needs to have a voice from parents.”
Although he’ll be a new district parent, “Experience is not necessarily the most important thing. It might be time for a new voice, since it seems a lot of people on the board have been on the board a long time,” Goldman said.
A late-night fire demolished six apartments and left one person dead in Oak Orchard last week.
Firefighters were called to a structure fire at 3:05 a.m. on Friday, April 10.
The building was already heavily aflame when the Indian River Volunteer Fire Company arrived at 28420 Delaware Avenue, just a block off the Indian River Bay.
The Millville Town Council has decided that there’s no reason to increase fees this year.
Before passing the Town’s 2016-fiscal-year budget on April 14, the town council unanimously passed the fee schedule for items such as business licenses, building permits and other fees.
“Nothing had to be increased this year. In fact, it hasn’t been increased in several years,” said Town Manager Debbie Botchie.
The 2016 budget also passed, with a few last-minute amendments, such as an increase in state health insurance premiums, office technology and IT support.
The current budget is doing swimmingly, as revenue is up, but the Town has only paid 55 percent of the projected expenses, “and we only have one month more to go of our fiscal year,” Botchie said.
While the Lower Sussex Little League may have kicked things off with their first game of the season last Monday night at the Pyle Center, they’ll celebrate the occasion this Friday, April 17, with their annual opening-ceremonies event. The festivities are set to begin at 6 p.m.
“The first hour is gonna be the opening ceremonies,” said LSLL President Tracey Littleton, “the flag-raising ceremony and recognizing the people we need to recognize. It’s just a fun night for the kids.”
Also honored at the ceremony will be former LSLL players who went on to serve the country, as well as the LSLL Big League team that made it to regionals last year, coached by Sam O’Shields.
“We’ll be honoring them,” Little explained. And, “We had some Pat Knight teams that won first place in their tournament, so we’ll be recognizing them.”
Dim the lights and get dolled up for the 30th Anniversary Gala of the Friends of the Selbyville Public Library. The Friends will bring the party on Thursday, April 30, from 6 to 9 p.m. at the Cove Bar & Grille at Bayside.
“We started in April of 1985. It’s our 30th anniversary of being around and helping the library,” said David Nilsson, Friends president.
The public is being invited to enjoy hors d’oeuvres, live music, a full buffet, silent auction and cash bar. This month’s party is the jumping-off point for Selbyville’s future. Proceeds will fund children’s programs, technology upgrades and future expansion of Selbyville Public Library.
Smoke was pouring from its engine just before a school bus caught flames near Millsboro on Monday, April 13.
East Millsboro Elementary School’s bus No. 64 had already picked up two students at 6:45 a.m. when it turned onto Careys Camp Road (located off Route 24, west of Route 113).
According to the 41-year-old female driver, the engine suddenly cut out, so she pulled off the roadway.
When she smelled smoke and saw flames coming from the engine, she hustled the students off the bus to a nearby house, where the authorities were called.
There were no injuries to her or the two children, ages 9 and 11.
“The bus driver did a great job getting the students off the bus and to safety,” said David Maull, Indian River School District spokesman. “She did exactly as she was trained to do and took the kids out of the back exit.”
Mid-Atlantic survey first step in oil/gas drilling
Two Texas companies have requested permission to perform surveys off the Delaware coast for potential oil and gas reserves. GX Technology Corporation and Spectrum Geo Inc. applied for permits to do deep-penetration seismic surveys on the Atlantic Outer Continental Shelf.