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.

Best of Milton Auction & Party set for Sept. 12

A celebration is planned for the 10th Annual Best of Milton Auction & Party on Saturday, Sept. 12, from 5 to 8 p.m. at the Milton Fire Hall, 116 Front Street in Milton. The party will aim for an atmosphere of cool elegance, in pale blue and shimmering silver as they celebrate this anniversary in style.

County defers vote on moratorium for off-premises signs


The Sussex County Council this week deferred voting on a proposed moratorium on off-premisess signs, following a public hearing.

“Typically, what you’d consider off-premisess is more of a billboard-type application, but there are small ones also,” said Lawrence Lank, director of Planning & Zoning.

County Administrator Todd Lawson said the County is currently in the process of trying to schedule a signage workshop to address the council’s concerns.

“There is an intent to bring together the County Council, Planning & Zoning Commission, the Board of Adjustment — all 15 members — along with our legal staff, our Planning & Zoning staff, and walk through the ordinance as a whole,” he said. “From that point we will come back and get to work on introducing a new ordinance from the feedback we would receive.”

During the public hearing, Georgetown attorney David Hutt, who has represented numerous applicants’ billboard applications over the last several years, spoke in opposition to the moratorium and offered his assistance to the council moving forward.

Sussex County seniors offered new transportation options

At Tuesday’s Sussex County Council meeting, Nancy Feichtl, who formed the Senior Transportation Cooperative in Sussex County, gave a presentation on ITNSouthernDelaware — a nonprofit organization offering affordable rides to senior citizens, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

The membership-based organization has an annual membership fee of $35 for individuals and $60 for a family membership in which two of the members are 55 or older, with additional costs per mile traveled. Memberships are also available for adults with visual impairment who are 21 or older.

Subscription forms may be found online, as well as in libraries throughout Sussex County.

Feichtl said the group was able to raise $220,000, exceeding the $150,000 required to become affiliated with ITNAmerica.

Public hearing held for signage moratorium

The Sussex County Planning & Zoning Commission was set to take the next step toward a possible moratorium on off-premise signage on Thursday, Aug. 13, with a public hearing at 6 p.m. for an ordinance that would establish the moratorium on the special-use exception applications needed to get such signs approved.

The draft ordinance was introduced before the Sussex County Council on July 28 and states that the council “views the placement of off-premises signs as an important public-safety issue” and believes that “the recent proliferation of off-premises signs has a detrimental effect on the safety and welfare of the citizens of Sussex County.”

Councilman George Cole had requested the council discuss the County’s sign regulations at the July 24 council meeting, stating that he had spoken to Dale A. Callaway, chairman of the County’s Board of Adjustment, regarding signage.

“He’s relayed to me that they have problems with these electronic signs… Basically, our ordinance needs to rewritten.”

County introduces draft moratorium on signs

An ordinance that would establish a moratorium for off-premise sign applications in Sussex County was introduced before the Sussex County Council earlier this week.

Paramedics move a little closer to the beach with new base

Coastal Point • Laura Walter : With offices and comfortable living space behind these garage bays, Sussex County paramedics have a new base near Ocean View and Bethany Beach.Coastal Point • Laura Walter : With offices and comfortable living space behind these garage bays, Sussex County paramedics have a new base near Ocean View and Bethany Beach.
As the local population goes, so go Sussex County paramedics — moving closer to the beach. Sussex County Emergency Medical Services (SCEMS) cut the ribbon this week on their Medic 105 base, which moved from Route 17 in Clarksville to just outside Ocean View.
“Our biggest challenge was the communities to the east were growing,” said Robert “Robbie” Murray Jr., SCEMS operations division manager. “We constantly found ourselves going to the east.”

Lower Sussex clinches two state softball championships

Last July, Lower Sussex Little League had never won a state championship for softball. Less than a year later, they’ve won three — and they’re in the running for a fourth.

County looks to place hold on new signage

Coastal Point • Maria Counts: Sussex County Council voted this week to draft an ordinance for a moratorium on off-premise billboards and electric signs.Coastal Point • Maria Counts: Sussex County Council voted this week to draft an ordinance for a moratorium on off-premise billboards and electric signs.The Sussex County Council is considering placing a moratorium on off-premise billboards and electronic signs, following a discussion at this week’s council meeting.

Councilman George Cole requested the council discuss the County’s sign regulations, stating he had spoken to Dale A. Callaway, chairman of the County’s Board of Adjustment, regarding signage.

“He’s relayed to me that they have problems with these electronic signs… Basically, our ordinance needs to rewritten.”

Cole said there are electronic signs on two-lane roads, such as Route 26, “that are very distracting.”

“It’s getting out of hand,” he said. “The board doesn’t know what to do. They need direction from us.”

Work camp builds fellowship, as well as new roofs

Coastal Point • R. Chris Clark: Kids from across the country came to participate in the First State Work Camp at Mariner’s Bethel United Methodist Church.Coastal Point • R. Chris Clark: Kids from across the country came to participate in the First State Work Camp at Mariner’s Bethel United Methodist Church.More than 400 youths from across the country traveled to Sussex County last month. Although most kids their age who spend their summer vacations traveling to the area come to enjoy a beach vacation, these particular youths were spending their time making a positive impact on local families.

“This is what we’re called to do — not just Mariner’s. We understand that God moves first in our lives. God pursues us, God loves us, and we have many blessings that God is able to give to us,” said the Rev. Woody Wilson of Mariner’s Bethel United Methodist Church, which hosted the First State Work Camp the youths attended.

“Therefore, as often as we can, as many ways as we can, for as long as we can, we’re supposed to be reaching out to help the many needs of folks — not only here but also abroad. First State Work Camp gives us the opportunity to locally love on the people here, help them with some of their needs and build some awesome relationships.”

Hooverville ready to rock the house across Delmarva

Delmarva classic-rock band Hooverville is headed south this summer, making their debut at Brew River Restaurant & Bar in Salisbury, Md., on July 25 and taking their sound to the beach at Locals Under the Lights at the Freeman Stage at Bayside in West Fenwick on Aug. 27.

Citizens bring science to the table in effort to Save Beach Cove

Several months and thousands of dollars later, the people who oppose oyster aquaculture in Beach Cove finally have some hard data to support their claims.

As resident James P. Bond said, “The scientific reasons as to why this is a poor location are very convincing.”

Organizations come together to discuss addiction epidemic

Connections Community Support Programs made a presentation to the Sussex County Action Prevention Coalition’s (SCAPC’s) Seaford Chapter at its monthly meeting last week.

Dozens arrested after months-long operation

Delaware State Police this week revealed the results of a months-long operation designed to proactively impact violent crime in Sussex and Kent counties.

Delaware State Police honor those who’ve given to Camp Barnes

Coastal Point • Maria Counts: Harry and Linda Kent of Millville were honored by the Delaware State Police for their dedication to improving the conditions at Camp Barnes over the past four years, as well as contributing new mattresses to the camp.Coastal Point • Maria Counts: Harry and Linda Kent of Millville were honored by the Delaware State Police for their dedication to improving the conditions at Camp Barnes over the past four years, as well as contributing new mattresses to the camp.Members of the community and the Delaware State Police gathered together last week to honor those who donate their time and money in support of Camp Barnes.

The summer camp is an overnight residential camp run by the Delaware State Police and is open to children between the ages of 10 and 13 at no cost to the camper or their family. Camp Barnes accommodates 60 campers per week for six weeks. The camp is in session from early July through August. All children are eligible to attend, regardless of family income.

“In 1947, the Delaware Association of Chiefs’ of Police accepted the challenge to undertake a project to combat juvenile delinquency in the state of Delaware. The committee’s resulting recommendation led to the establishment of Camp Barnes, for the recreation of deserving youth from throughout the state,” said DSP Superintendent Col. Nathaniel McQueen Jr.

New law creates driving privilege for undocumented

After a year of statewide deliberation, Senate Bill 59 has been adopted, creating a driving privilege card option for undocumented residents of the state.

Volunteers sought to report sightings of wild turkeys

DNREC’s Division of Fish & Wildlife is looking for wildlife watchers and outdoor enthusiasts to assist with its sixth annual wild turkey reproduction survey, helping to identify locations where the big birds are successfully reproducing in Delaware.

Fourth of July festivities galore this weekend

Coastal Point • File Photo: Young paraders carry the Bethany Beach sign at the front of a past annual Fourth of July Celebration parade.Coastal Point • File Photo: Young paraders carry the Bethany Beach sign at the front of a past annual Fourth of July Celebration parade.To commemorate the signing of the Declaration of Independence, Americans gather together each year to celebrate the country’s independence from Great Britain with family and friends.

In the local community, there is no shortage of celebration — from family barbecues and picnics on the beach, to parades and fireworks, there’s something for everyone to enjoy.

South Bethany to hold holiday weekend fun

South Bethany is heating up for the holiday weekend, from a boat parade to movie night.

Pedestrian Safety Day comes to South Bethany on Friday, July 3, from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. The Delaware Office of Highway Safety will distribute safety information and demonstrate best practices, to encourage bicycles, motorists and pedestrians to share the street, on the corner of Henlopen Drive and Route 1.

ACTION group upset with County not appealing AT&T decision

Ocean View resident Kathy Vengazo recently spoke before the Sussex County Council on behalf of the Allied Communities to Improve our Neighborhoods (ACTION) to voice their upset at the council regarding the council’s decision to not appeal the Superior Court ruling in the case of AT&T v. Sussex County Board of Adjustment.

Holts Landing celebrating 50 years with Family Fun Night

Coastal Point • Submitted: Holts Landing State Park offers the area a boat ramp, pier, hiking trails and so much more. The state park will celebrate 50 years with a Outdoor Family Fun Night on Tuesday, June 30, from 6:30 to 9 p.m.Coastal Point • Submitted: Holts Landing State Park offers the area a boat ramp, pier, hiking trails and so much more. The state park will celebrate 50 years with a Outdoor Family Fun Night on Tuesday, June 30, from 6:30 to 9 p.m.Holts Landing State Park may have already seen what seemed like its heyday, but to the state parks system and reinvigorated volunteers, now is the perfect time for a revival. The hidden park near Millville is celebrating its 50th anniversary with Outdoor Family Fun Night on Tuesday, June 30, from 6:30 to 9 p.m.

Outdoor games will be provided, such as cornhole, horseshoes and ladder golf (in which players attempt to loop a string with two golf balls around a ladder-shaped PVC pipe goal).

Park naturalists will do hands-on activities before the sun sets, including seining for critters in the bay. After dark, they’ll point out stellar constellations in the night sky.

Meanwhile, families can relax and roast marshmallows by a bonfire. Those attending should pack their own picnic dinners, bug spray and blankets for stargazing.

The Back Bay Strummers will bring their strings to perform live music.

Lewes Farmers Market moves to Shields this Saturday

Because the Sea Glass Festival will be held at the Lewes Historical Society this Saturday, June 27, the Historic Lewes Farmers Market will move to the Richard Shields Elementary School parking lot, just off the corner of Savannah Road and Sussex Drive. The Market will be open from 8 a.m. until noon.

The market will returns to the grounds of the Lewes Historical Society Saturday, July 4.

Former Ravens cheerleader pleads guilty to rape charge

Coastal Point • Maria Counts: Molly Shattuck, center, walks out of the Sussex County Courthouse behind her attorney, Eugene Maurer.Coastal Point • Maria Counts: Molly Shattuck, center, walks out of the Sussex County Courthouse behind her attorney, Eugene Maurer.Former Baltimore Ravens cheerleader Molly Shattuck, 48, pled guilty to one count of Rape in the Fourth Degree earlier this week.

The plea took place in Sussex County Superior Court on Tuesday, June 16, before Judge E. Scott Bradley. During the “plea by appointment,” Bradley asked Shattuck a number of questions.

Shattuck acknowledged that by pleading guilty she understood she was waiving her rights to a trial, which had been scheduled to begin June 22.

“Did you commit the offense you are pleading guilty to?” asked Bradley of Shattuck.

“Yes,” she replied.

Rape in the Fourth Degree is a Class C felony, and Shattuck faces a maximum of 15 years in prison. One of Shattuck’s attorneys, Eugene Maurer, stated in court that she has no prior convictions. She will be registered as a Tier II “moderate-risk” sex offender. She is to not have contact with any minors, with the exception of her three children.

In November 2014, a Grand Jury charged Shattuck with two counts of Rape in the Third Degree for performing oral sex on a minor who was 15 years old at the time. She was also charged with four counts of Unlawful Sexual Contact in the Second Degree, and three counts of Providing Alcoholic Liquor to a Minor. At that time, she pled not guilty and was released on $84,000 bond.

Human trafficking isn’t just a big-city problem

Coastal Point • Laura Walter: Yolanda Schlabach talks about the ugly truth of human trafficking in Delaware.Coastal Point • Laura Walter: Yolanda Schlabach talks about the ugly truth of human trafficking in Delaware.Christine McCoy was completely shocked the first time she heard Yolanda Schlabach speak about the ugly truth of human trafficking in Delaware.

“To me it was always oversees, or cities — not right here in Sussex County. And the more people that are aware, the better we can start fighting it,” said McCoy, president of Southern Sussex Rotary Club, where Schlabach spoke in May.

“Apparently, southern Delaware is a hotbed for this type of activity because of the rural nature of our communities and several other factors,” McCoy stated.

“Human trafficking is modern-day slavery and involves the use of force, fraud or coercion to obtain some type of labor or commercial sex act,” according to U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

Sussex County rebrands airport with new name, logo

Coastal Point • Submitted: The new logo for the Delaware Coastal Airport was created by Ben Muldrow of Milford, and his firm, Arnett Muldrow & Associates.Coastal Point • Submitted: The new logo for the Delaware Coastal Airport was created by Ben Muldrow of Milford, and his firm, Arnett Muldrow & Associates.With a majority vote, Sussex County Council this week approved the rebranding of the Georgetown Airport as Delaware Coastal Airport.

“We need to tell our story and position this facility for future growth,” said County Administrator Todd Lawson.

Rebranding is the latest step in a more-than-decade-long, nearly $40 million effort to modernize the facility and boost economic development, which includes extending the main runway, leasing new hangar space and replacing airport lighting.

Prior to the vote, Lawson said the airport has suffered from an “identity crisis.”

“Depending on who you speak to, many people refer to the facility by a number of names, including the County Airport, the Sussex County Airport, or the Georgetown airport — which most locals call the facility.

County opposes EPA’s rule relating to ‘Waters of the U.S.’

Sussex County Administrator Todd Lawson this week provided an update regarding the Environmental Protection Agency’s rule related to the “Waters of the United States” at the request of Councilman George Cole.

Lawson said the rule was introduced on May 27 and was written in conjunction with the EPA and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.