Fenwick Island News

Town of Fenwick Island, Delaware


  • 379 (2010 Census)

Town council meetings:

  • Fourth Friday of the month, 3:30 p.m., town hall meeting room


  • First Saturday in August, alternating slate of four and three seats, two-year terms; mayor/council president chosen from among the council, with a one-year term

Town office:

  • 800 Coastal Highway, Fenwick Island, DE 19944; (302) 539-3011, fax (302) 539-1305

Web site

General e-mail inquiries

Town Council 2013-2014:

  • Gene Langan, Mayor
  • Richard Mais, Vice-Mayor
  • Diane Tingle, Secretary
  • Gardner Bunting, Treasurer
  • William Weistling
  • Roy Williams
  • Julie Lee

Town Manager:

  • Merritt Burke

Town Clerk:

  • Agnes DiPietrantonio

Finance Assistant:

  • Josie Correnti

Building Official:

  • Patricia Schuchman

Standing committees:

  • Beautification/ Parks & Recreation, Beach, Environmental, Planning, Board of Adjustments, Board of Elections, Audit, Budget, Building, Charter and Ordinance, Commercial Action, Emergency Management


  • William Boyden, Chief

Town Solicitor:

  • Tempe Steen


  • 911

Non-emergency police contact:

  • (302) 539-2000

Beach patrol:

  • Tim Ferry, Captain
  • The Beach Patrol is on duty beginning Memorial Day weekend each summer (Saturday, Sunday & Monday) and then two more weekends thereafter, and every day through Labor Day and then two weekends after Labor Day.

Trash pick-up:

  • October through April, Monday only. May through September, Monday & Thursday. Heavy trash pickup, June 8, 9 & 10 and September 9, 10, & 11.

Curbside recycling:

  • A voluntary townwide curbside recycling program through DSWA has been instituted beginning in 2008. Property owners may sign up on the town Web site or at town hall. Pick-ups are on Fridays, weekly from May to September and bi-weekly during the other months. The Fenwick Island Lions Club also collects aluminum cans in a bin behind town hall.

Council member to host Fenwick Island ‘Town Talks’ series

Fenwick Island Town Councilwoman Julie Lee is beginning a series of informal Town Talks, starting Friday, Sept. 23, at 5 p.m., after the next town council meeting.

“It’s all for the positive; it’s open to the public,” Lee announced at the August council meeting.

Community invited to give ‘Heroes’ Welcome’ to veterans

Operation SEAs the Day’s Warrior Week 2016 is well under way, but there is still time for community members to get involved.

Fenwick town council considers changes to its election law

Trusts will be addressed

After facing confusion in back-to-back elections, the Fenwick Island Town Council sat down recently to discuss their intentions for voter and candidate eligibility.

Brooksfest in Fenwick Island to benefit Alana Rose Foundation

After their biggest turnout to date last year, Brooksfest is back for its fifth year in a row, aiming to send the summer out in style. The family-friendly event will feature food, skimboarding, giveaways and more, set for this Saturday, Sept. 10, on the beach in Fenwick Island.

Fenwick bids farewell to outgoing officials

As July came to a close, three people approached retirement from their duties at Fenwick Island Town Hall.

After 10 years of service apiece, outgoing Town Council Members Diane Tingle and Bill Weistling Jr. opted not to run for reelection this year. Meanwhile, Merritt Burke IV served his final days as town manager before becoming CEO of Sussex County Association of Realtors (SCAOR).

Fenwick Island swears in new town council members

With one hand on the Bible, three Fenwick Islanders swore to this week serve as town council members in accordance with the Town Code, state and U.S. constitutions.

Vicky Carmean, Bernie Merritt Jr. and Gardner Bunting officially began their two-year terms at a Aug. 16 reorganization meeting.

Sierra Club donates memorial bench in Haon’s honor

Coastal Point • Submitted: Carolyn Haon, widow of Harry Haon, seated at center-left, and their son, Jay Haon, seated at right, gathers with Stephanie Herron of the Sierra Club, seated at center, and the IBF Board of Directors, back row and kneeling, at the dedication of a memorial bench for the late Fenwick Island Town Council member and environmental advocate.Coastal Point • Submitted: Carolyn Haon, widow of Harry Haon, seated at center-left, and their son, Jay Haon, seated at right, gathers with Stephanie Herron of the Sierra Club, seated at center, and the IBF Board of Directors, back row and kneeling, at the dedication of a memorial bench for the late Fenwick Island Town Council member and environmental advocate.On Aug. 5, representatives of the Sierra Club met with members of the Board of Directors of the Inland Bays Foundation to dedicate a memorial bench in honor of the late Harry Haon, a past IBF member.

The memorial bench, made of 100 percent recycled material and inscribed with a brass appreciation plate, was placed in front of the Fenwick Island Town Hall. The bench was donated by the Sierra Club based in Wilmington.

Haon was known as a champion of environmental causes in Delaware. In addition to supporting the activities of the Sierra Club, Haon was a member of the Fenwick Island Town Council, and participated as a board member at both the Center for Inland Bays (CIB) and the Inland Bays Foundation(IBF). The IBF is a non-profit 501(c)3 organization dedicated to returning Delaware’s waters to their original fishable and swimmable state.

Fenwick Island election sees new and familiar faces

The ballots have been counted, and the Fenwick Island Town Council has a new lineup after the Aug. 6 election.

The three winners were council newcomer Bernard “Bernie” H. Merritt Jr. (258 votes), incumbent Gardner Bunting (241) and former councilwoman Vicki Carmean (203).

They defeated candidate Kevin Carouge (154).

Fenwick talks committee to look at trustees

With a Fenwick Island Town Council election just days away, discussion of voter and candidate eligibility issues continued at the Town’s Tuesday, Aug. 2, Charter & Ordinance Committee meeting.

Fenwick Island candidates get final word before election

This year’s Fenwick Island Town Council election gives voters the choice of four candidates for three positions. Polls will open at Town Hall on Saturday, Aug. 6, from 1 to 5 p.m.

Voters can select three of the following candidates: Gardner Bunting (incumbent), Vicki L. Carmean, Kevin Carouge and Bernard “Bernie” H. Merritt Jr.

Fenwick election issues discussed as campaign comes to a close

After two would-be Fenwick Island town council candidates were recently deemed ineligible due to confusion over the eligibility of trustees under the town charter, Councilwoman Julie Lee emphasized the importance of straightening out and clarifying the charter in the next year.

Town officials: What brand of town is Fenwick Island?

Disney World and McDonald’s aren’t the only places that have a brand.

Big and small towns take advantage of branding to create a central idea of what it’s like to visit them, and Fenwick Island officials are now deciding if that’s the right move for the town.

Burke to leave Fenwick Island, lead Realtor’s association

Fenwick Island’s town manager of four years will be leaving town hall to become CEO of the Sussex County Association of Realtors (SCAOR). Merritt Burke IV said he’s proud to have served Fenwick since March of 2012 but sad to leave a town that he likes.

Alcohol believed to be a factor in capsized boat

Neighbors heard SOS calls for hours before calling 911

Alone in the dark water, a Maryland man was allegedly intoxicated this week when he capsized his boat in west Fenwick Island in the Big Assawoman Bay.

Fenwick holds first public meeting on comp plan updates

Last weekend, the Town of Fenwick Island held a public meeting regarding an update to its comprehensive plan — an official document intended to guide future development of a community in order to create and maintain a desirable environment and to promote health, safety and welfare.

Trust issues: Fenwick loses candidates to ownership law

Four candidates to vie for three seats in election

Fenwick Island had six candidates for its 2016 town council election — until the Town determined that two of those would-be candidates are ineligible because of property ownership technicalities.

In the Aug. 6 election, voters will select three candidates from among: Gardner Bunting (incumbent), Vicki L. Carmean, Kevin Carouge and Bernard “Bernie” H. Merritt Jr.

Fenwick Flicks bringing free fun to the whole family

Sponsored by the Anne Powell Group, Fenwick Flicks will feature three movies this summer, along with pre-movie activities, on the beach at Bayard Street in Fenwick Island.

BREAKING NEWS: Six candidates to vie for Fenwick Island council seats

Once again, Fenwick Island has six candidates for its town council election, set this year for Aug. 6.

Voters can vote for up to three candidates from the following: Gardner Bunting (incumbent), Vicki L. Carmean, Kevin Carouge, Charles W. Hastings, Marc McFaul and Bernard “Bernie” H. Merritt Jr.

Council terms are two years.

Election committee criticized after voting restriction proposed

Just weeks after Fenwick Island’s Ad-hoc Election Committee recommended two changes to the Town’s voting requirements, the mayor moved to disband the committee. He ultimately agreed to wait till a review of the issue by the town attorney.

Coast Guard to offer free boat safety checks June 25

The U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary, Flotilla 12-01, will conduct Vessel Safety Checks on Saturday, June 25, at Island Watersports, 36084 Harpoon Road, Fenwick Island, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Boardwalk Arts Festival adds arts and antiques tour

The Bethany-Fenwick Area Chamber of Commerce is partnering with new presenting sponsor, Schell Brothers, for the 38th Annual Bethany Beach Boardwalk Arts Festival, scheduled for Saturday, Sept. 10, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Fenwick talks money, approves budget and fire company fee

Money talks, and the Fenwick Island Town Council talked money at their May 27 meeting.

The council approved the Fiscal Year 2017 Financial Plan, with a balanced budget of $2,026,775.

There have been no real estate property tax rate increases in more than a decade for Fenwick’s 817 properties, including Town properties

Shorter than expected, Route 54 sidewalks still an improvement

Route 54 isn’t very pedestrian-friendly. Near Fenwick Island, the two-lane road is narrow, with shoulders, but lacking sidewalks or a center turn lane. Joggers and cyclists must share the road shoulders with regular traffic travelling at least 35 mph.

Fenwick Island tries to protect trees from fatal pest

Coastal Point • Laura Walter In Fenwick Island, pinecones and bare branches are all that remain after this black pine tree died from an infection carried by beetles.Coastal Point • Laura Walter In Fenwick Island, pinecones and bare branches are all that remain after this black pine tree died from an infection carried by beetles.In the back yard of an attractive beach house in Fenwick Island, Mary Ellen Langan opened a large hunting knife and began scraping at the solid branch of a pine tree.

She was looking for a blue stain among the light tan wood. That would be proof that the dead tree had suffered from an infection caused by an insect.

Some of Fenwick Island’s black pine trees have died quickly this winter, infected by a contagious microscopic nematode carried by beetles.

“These beetles and nematodes spread from tree to tree. So if you drive around town, you can see a lot of these dead and dying trees,” said Langan, head of the municipality’s Environmental Committee. “The only way to stop it is to take these trees down immediately. [Otherwise,] it’s going to spread.”

“There is no known treatment,” said Laura Yowell, a Sussex County forester for the Delaware Department of Agriculture’s Forest Service.

“Pinewood nematode lives in the wood of the infected trees. It’s transmitted by a pine sawyer beetle. Both are native pests,” she noted, which can live in native trees without causing any trouble but can also be fatal for some non-native trees.

First, beetles find and feed on the weakened trees. They carry the nematode, which gets under tree. About 95 percent of the time, people can see the blue stains indicating a fungus the nematodes carry.

“You have to cut into a limb. If you see a blue stain under the bark, there’s evidence there’s a nematode,” Langan said.

Candidates can register for 2016 FI election

Candidates can now throw their hats into the ring for the 2016 Fenwick Island Town Council election, scheduled for Aug. 6. The three seats up for election are currently held by Gardner Bunting, Diane Tingle and Bill Weistling.

Candidates must register by June 22 at 4:30 p.m. Forms are available at Town Hall.