Sussex County News
Sussex County, Delaware
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Community volunteers were recognized at this week’s Sussex County Council meeting for doing their part in the County’s annual Caroling on the Circle food drive.
Fares to increase statewide
John J. Williams Highway (Route 24) recently got some attention in the latest DART public transit redesign. A year-round bus route will now make the rounds on Route 24, and the schedule will match the shift changes at the Mountaire poultry processing plant.
A public hearing regarding the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program was held Tuesday before the Sussex County Council.
Sussex County Council this week heard a presentation on its audited financial statements for the 2015 fiscal year. Keith Hammond, CPA at BDO USA LLP, a firm of licensed certified public accountants, said the County was given a “clean” opinion and was in compliance with federal programs.
Indian River School District schools received two of the many bomb threats that targeted schools and hospitals early this week.
At least 31 bomb threats were telephoned in to schools and hospitals across Delaware, Maryland, Virginia and Pennsylvania. That included Indian River High School, Millsboro Middle School and Beebe Healthcare.
For the fifth consecutive year, data compiled and released by the Sussex County Association of Realtors (SCAOR) earlier this month indicates a period of modest growth in the region’s real estate markets.
Again led by the coastal market, the numbers indicate nearly $1.52 billion in southern Delaware real estate changed hands in 2015, which is a 1 percent increase over the previous year.
Delaware Seashore State Park is offering a series of programs this January to help people get outdoors, stay active and learn about the history and natural wonders of the area.
A 90-bed psychiatric hospital is still coming to Georgetown, after the failed appeal of the project’s initial approval was heard before the Delaware Health Care Commission. The 70,000-square-foot hospital is to be located in Georgetown, adjacent to La Red and Beebe Healthcare facilities. The project is expected to be completed in the summer of 2017, with construction to begin next year.
During Tuesday’s regular Sussex County Council meeting, County Finance Director Gina Jennings gave the council an update on the Clean Water & Flood Abatement Task Force. Jennings, who sits on the task force, said a meeting was held in November, with another meeting scheduled for Dec. 17.
In 23 years, Scott Kammerer has come a long way, from a man who traveled to Sussex County from New Jersey in 1992, with a bicycle and $17.
He first began working in restaurants, washing dishes for minimum wage. After a few years competing as a wrestler, Kammerer said, he allowed his addiction to alcohol and drugs take over, and he returned to the restaurant scene. He eventually became the general manager of a busy restaurant in downtown Rehoboth Beach.
“That winter, on the steps of the church right across the street, I met Matt Haley, and my life would never be the same,” said Kammerer at the Southern Delaware Tourism Luncheon on Dec. 9 of his business partner and philanthropist, who passed away in August of 2014 while on a philanthropic trip to India.
Kammerer would later go on to work for Haley, who became his mentor and friend.
In a move designed to help the State fund transportation projects by extracting impact fees from developers, rather than relying on taxpayer funding, Delaware Department of Transportation Secretary Jennifer Cohan at the Dec. 8 Sussex County Council meeting announced plans for Sussex County’s first “transportation improvement district.”
The director of Delaware’s new Office of Animal Welfare checked in with the Sussex County Council on Tuesday, Dec. 8, to talk about plans for animal control services in Sussex County.
Sussex County presented its third-quarter “Pickle Award” earlier this week.
The Give ’em the Pickle program is a national employee-based recognition program that the County adopted this fall.
“It is a peer-to-peer recognition program led by County employees who experience another employee’s exceptional customer service,” said County Administrator Todd Lawson, “and acknowledge that employee by filling out a form describing the event, which is then reviewed and approved by the employee’s manager. This is literally giving them the pickle.”
Lawson said that, additionally, a resident or County customer could give an employee praise that a manager could also use to give the employee recognition.
Sussex County offices will close for a two-hour period on Friday, Dec. 11, 2015, to allow employees to attend the annual Mildred King Luncheon.
County offices will close from 11 a.m. until 1 p.m. on that date. Members of the public with business to conduct at County facilities are asked to plan accordingly for the temporary closure.
County offices will re-open promptly at 1 p.m.
When the 38th District Republican Club met on Monday, Nov. 23, it wasn’t to discuss politics.
Instead they gathered at the South Coastal Library for an Entrepreneur Symposium — an event designed by club President Drew Sunderlin to encourage young people interested in one day owning their own business by introducing them to some of Sussex County’s most successful entrepreneurs.
“This is an apolitical event,” Sunderlin explained. “The idea is I wanted to bring in the young members of our community and introduce them to three very successful entrepreneurs — I wanted to do something for the community where we show them what it took for these guys to get where they are.”
To do that, Sunderlin sought out area success stories, including restauranteur Steve Hagen of the Off the Hook Restaurant Group, Miken Builders President Mike Cummings and Barton’s Landscaping founder Phil Barton — all of whom eventually went on to turn their ideas into thriving businesses in Sussex County.
Sussex County Council held a public hearing earlier this week related to the Berzins expansion of the South Bethany Sanitary Sewer District.
Along with connecting the Berzins property, located on Kent Avenue, to the sanitary sewer district, connection points for three other parcels in the district that are not being served could gain connection.
Last winter, a man took the bus to Georgetown Public Library. He was distraught, trying to reach an emergency shelter, but learned it was temporarily closed.
“It was a very cold, one of those single-digit days,” said Librarian Sherri Scott.
Unable to find another option, he desperately called the police and told them he was suicidal so they would put him in a safe place overnight.
The Delaware Health Care Commission last week unanimously approved SUN (Solving Unmet Needs) Behavioral Health’s application for a proposed 90-bed psychiatric hospital, to be located in Georgetown.
A public hearing for the psychiatric hospital was held in September, during which the majority of those who spoke were in favor of the application’s approval.
The Sussex County Council this week discussed how to address land-use application approvals scheduled to expire on Jan. 1, 2016, after the County’s staff had received fewer than 10 requests for extensions but with many more projects approved but not yet completed.
At this week’s Sussex County Council meeting, Sheriff Robert Lee offered the council an update on his office. Stating the Sussex County Sheriff’s Office has taken a “team approach,” Lee said, noting that he and his staff were focusing on communication and teambuilding.
The Delaware State Legislature has made a number of changes to the Beach Preservation Act in past decades, and the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control (DNREC) is now trying to put those changes into action by writing new regulations for beachfront building and use.
Millsboro bypass included in forecast
Each year, the Delaware Department of Transportation (DelDOT) develops a six-year Capital Transportation Plan (CTP) that identifies future projects and costs.
Community leaders, educators, businesspeople and elected officials will join together to raise public awareness regarding current economic issues at the 22nd Annual Sussex County Today & Tomorrow Conference. The event will be hosted on Wednesday, Oct. 28, from 7:15 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the Carter Partnership Center at Delaware Technical Community College in Georgetown.
Following welcoming remarks by Sussex County Council President Michael Vincent, Delaware Tech President Mark T. Brainard, and Vice President and Campus Director Ileana Smith, the morning will include information that could be important to Sussex County employers.
The conference will include a statistical update by Workforce Analyst Ed Simon of the Delaware Economic Development Office and a keynote address by Sam Calagione, founder of Dogfish Head Brewery.
There will also be an hour reserved for Delaware Tech’s 1 Million Cups initiative, a partnership effort with the Kauffman Foundation to support entrepreneurship nationwide. The two presenters will be Rob Rider of Body & Soul Fitness and Katey Evans of the Frozen Farmer.
Power interruptions may occur during cleaning process
Delmarva Power crews are resuming their efforts today to pressure-wash utility lines and equipment along Route 1 between the Indian River Inlet and an area just north of Bethany Beach to remove sea salt carried inland by winds from the weekend nor’easter.
The Delaware Health Care Commission held a public hearing earlier this week for a proposed 90-bed psychiatric hospital to be located in Georgetown.
At the hearing, SUN (Solving Unmet Needs) Behavioral Health President Steve Page stated the company first heard about Sussex County after meeting Jeffrey Fried, president/CEO of Beebe Healthcare, last fall.