Local News

Millsboro Chamber has a new face

Coastal Point • Maria Counts: Carlene Roche is the new director of operations for the Greater Millsboro Chamber of Commerce. Roche is excited about the growth of business in the community, and is already hard at work on the Chamber’s fireworks celebrationCoastal Point • Maria Counts: Carlene Roche is the new director of operations for the Greater Millsboro Chamber of Commerce. Roche is excited about the growth of business in the community, and is already hard at work on the Chamber’s fireworks celebration

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Those visiting Millsboro will likely notice the great amount of growth the town is experiencing. With more growth, comes more businesses. Enter Carlene Roche.

Bethany looks at replenishment and umbrellas

With warm spring-like weather starting to make seemingly random appearances in the area this week, thoughts have begun to turn to preparations for the summer season in Bethany Beach. But there’s a key element that’s still up in the air: When will Bethany’s beach replenishment project start, and will it impact its vital summer season?

Selbyville to get water boost from Artesian

Taking a shower with low water pressure is annoying. Fighting a fire with low water pressure is life-threatening.

This summer, the Town of Selbyville will boost water pressure and prepare for future growth by purchasing water from Artesian Water Company.

Tech student racks up service-academy nominations

Alex AngellAlex AngellWhen Alex Angell was a youngster at Lord Baltimore Elementary School, he wrote a letter to his older self.

‘Did you attend the U.S. Naval Academy?’ he asked his future self.

Now a senior at Sussex Technical High School, he’s hoping to make that childhood dream come true. This spring, Angell (pronounced like the heavenly creature) earned the most service academy nominations of any Delaware student from among the nominations made by U.S. Sens. Tom Carper and Chris Coons and U.S. Rep. Lisa Blunt Rochester.

Students need distinguished nominations — typically from a federal legislator — to be eligible for the likes of West Point or the U.S. Naval Academy.

He hasn’t officially been accepted yet, but Angell nailed the first hurdle by earning nominations to the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis (from Carper); U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs (from Blunt Rochester and Carper); and the U.S. Military Academy in West Point (also from Blunt Rochester and Carper). He is also an alternate nominee for Coons. Additionally, all three legislators nominated him to the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy in Kings Point.

County approves loan documents for sports complex

The Sussex County Council voted on Tuesday to approve loan documents related to a $1.5 million loan to the Sussex Sports Complex’s backing foundation.

Attorneys continue investigating Mountaire’s ‘upset’

Another meeting held to discuss public health

As Mountaire waits for a sludge-removal permit, area attorneys have begun investigating the potential impacts of Mountaire’s wastewater treatment failure on the surrounding community.

Local family donates 160 acres to organization for preservation

In honor of their late mother, the children of Nancy Smoot have donated 160 acres of land on the edge of the Great Cypress Swamp to the Delaware Wild Lands conservancy organization.

Mental and behavioral health forum gives residents a voice

One might think all of Sussex County was at the Georgetown Public Library last Thursday night, as the upstairs meeting room, overwhelmed to standing-room-only, hosted a forum on mental and behavioral health.

What’s the deal with HOAs?

Hocker and Gray to host information session

When people buy a new house in community with a homeowner’s association, they may sign documents without a full understanding of what’s to come. That’s something local officials are aiming to address in an upcoming workshop.

South Bethany photography sought for Art in the Hall

Whether they’re professional photographers or proud amateurs, the Town of South Bethany is now welcoming the town’s residents, property owners and their families to enter the Second Annual Art in the Hall photography exhibit.

Sussex Technical School District on the lookout for superintendent

The Sussex Technical School District is now accepting applications for the position of superintendent.

Salon collects gently-used toiletries for women’s shelter

Coastal Point • Laura Walter: Even gently-used toiletries can give women a fresh boost of confidence at local domestic-abuse shelters.Coastal Point • Laura Walter: Even gently-used toiletries can give women a fresh boost of confidence at local domestic-abuse shelters.For many people, hairstyling without a blow-dryer would be the start of a very long day.

But a woman escaping an abusive relationship is more likely to be thinking about her children and herself, not the styling tools. If she’s lucky, she has time to pack some clothes before dashing to a shelter.

So, All About U salon and spa in Millville is collecting gently-used beauty products and tools for the People’s Place domestic-abuse shelters in Sussex County.

“It’s really just something to make the women feel valued,” said salon owner Rebecca Chandler. “They don’t have hairbrushes, or they don’t have curling irons. I know how valued it makes me feel and my clients feel to take care of ourselves.”

What can people do with excess beauty products sitting in bathroom cabinets — the hotel samples, not-quite-right hair product or unwanted Christmas soaps? Chandler will take all of it.

“It’s something we all have, and you don’t know what to do with it,” Chandler said. “It’s like a salon recycling program. And it’s a need.”

In just the first week, they had received a pile of items, from basic shampoos to high-end perfumes.

“We’ll sanitize all the bottles. … We’ll also [check] that it’s fit to give somebody. The ladies at the shelter said, when the women arrive, they basically have nothing,” Chandler said.

Robot Wars: Teams from IR schools advance to world championship

Coastal Point • Tyler Valliant: Teamwork is essential to rack up points for, from left, John M. Clayton Elementary School’s Macy Kauffman and Chloe Allen of Team Run JMC 2, and Kai Kelley and Simon Schoenhaar of Lord Baltimore Elementary School Team A.Coastal Point • Tyler Valliant: Teamwork is essential to rack up points for, from left, John M. Clayton Elementary School’s Macy Kauffman and Chloe Allen of Team Run JMC 2, and Kai Kelley and Simon Schoenhaar of Lord Baltimore Elementary School Team A.Students stepped up to the ring for the regional Vex IQ Challenge on Feb. 17 in Georgetown.

In all, 21 teams represented seven schools from the Indian River School District and Salisbury, Md. All year, the elementary and middle school teams have worked to design, program and build Vex IQ robots that complete various tasks.

After making a rockstar entrance to the gymnasium, teams lined up to either begin competition, two at a time, or troubleshoot their bots between rounds.

They scored points individually and by partnering with other teams in a 4-by-8-foot playing field, to test their skills in driving, teamwork and problem-solving. Points are awarded for lifting, stacking and pushing plastic rings into a scoring zone.

Optimists award 2018 essay prizes

The Sussex County Optimist Club kicked off its first season with a youth essay contest. Nearly 60 area high-schoolers participated.

The winners were, first place, Claudia Carey, a senior at Sussex Academy of Arts & Sciences; second place, Curstyn Dutton, a junior at Sussex Academy; and third place, Olivia Tancredi, a senior at Cape Henlopen High School.

Optimists arrive in Sussex County, meet in Georgetown

Coastal Point • Laura Walter: Three local students won scholarships for their essays on respect, including, from left to right, Olivia Tancredi, third place, Claudia Carey, first place, and Curstyn Dutton, second place.Coastal Point • Laura Walter: Three local students won scholarships for their essays on respect, including, from left to right, Olivia Tancredi, third place, Claudia Carey, first place, and Curstyn Dutton, second place.The Sussex County Optimist Club was founded barely six months ago, but they’re already making their mark in the community as they envision a brighter future.

“Our mission is to provide hope and positive vision, bringing out the best in our youth, our communities and ourselves,” said Connie Sohnleiter, president.

She founded the club last autumn after participating in a Pennsylvania branch of Optimist International for more than 20 years before moving to Lewes. The club was made official on Nov. 7, 2017.

So far, they’ve made big strides in their goals of fundraising, mentoring local youth and starting a Junior Optimist International (JOI) Club at Cape Henlopen High School.

“So, it’s just working with kids — whether it’s through schools, through the agencies, whatever. Just bringing out the best in kids,” said Adele James, a member and former educator.

As a native Sussex Countian, James is encouraging the club to expand to address needs on the less-affluent western side of Delaware, where she said there are more at-risk kids and more need.

“I was in education for 33 years, so I was aware of the issues,” she said.

Bethany Ropewalk receives liquor license

The Ropewalk restaurant location in Bethany Beach, now under construction on Garfield Parkway, received approval of its liquor license on Tuesday, Feb. 13, after a nearly two-hour hearing before the state’s Office of the Alcoholic Beverage Control Commissioner.

New commercial center under construction in Ocean View

Special to the Coastal Point • Submitted : A rendition of the planned commercial center coming to Ocean View.Special to the Coastal Point • Submitted : A rendition of the planned commercial center coming to Ocean View.Those who drive Route 26 in Ocean View with any frequency may have noticed that the white craftsman-style home on the northwest corner of Atlantic Avenue (Route 26) and Woodland Avenue is no longer standing. The house was removed at the end of January in preparation for construction of a commercial center.

The property has been in the Archut family for more than 100 years, first purchased by Dianne Archut’s great-grandfather Charles Johnson.

He “built the house on it in the early 1920s,” said Russell Archut, Dianne Archut’s husband. “He lived there until he passed away. Then it was passed down to Diane’s mom, and Diane’s mom and dad rented it for a while. Numerous people lived there… school teachers that taught at LB used to rent a room there. Then it was some general renters.”

Archut and his wife moved into the home in 1978, and the family lived there until 2003.

Their son Brenton was born in Milford, he said, “and was brought home to that house.”

Valor Awards recognize the work of local first-responders

Coastal Point • Susan C. Lyons: The winners of the Joshua M. Freeman Valor Awards get together for a group photo following the event.Coastal Point • Susan C. Lyons: The winners of the Joshua M. Freeman Valor Awards get together for a group photo following the event.“Valor is the demonstration of boldness and bravery in the face of adversity and danger. In our communities, it is our first-responders who sacrifice their own time and often their safety in order to protect the lives of others,” said Patti Grimes, the executive director of Carl M. Freeman and Joshua M. Freeman foundations, at the 14th Annual Joshua M. Freeman Valor Awards.

The award ceremony, hosted by the Carl M. Freeman Companies with the help of the Bethany-Fenwick Chamber of Commerce, gets its name from Josh Freeman, who served as a Green Beret.

“Hosting the Valor Awards is a privilege for our Chamber, allowing us the opportunity to give thanks for all that our first-responders do in support of our Chamber businesses, communities, and signature events and initiatives we host each year,” said Lauren Weaver, the Chamber’s executive director.

All those recognized at the Feb. 9 luncheon at the Den at Bear Trap Dunes were nominated by their own departments, and received a plaque and gift card to Hocker’s from Beebe Healthcare.

Selbyville incumbents retain seats with no new challengers

The Town of Selbyville has canceled its 2018 town council elections due to lack of challengers.

Longtime incumbents Richard Duncan Sr. and Jay Murray both filed for re-election, and there were no other candidates. Their terms will begin in March and will last two years.

The election was originally scheduled for March 3.

Once again, coastal towns oppose drilling, seismic testing

Public can still submit comments

People are turning their voices toward Washington, D.C., as the U.S. Department of the Interior eyes the Atlantic Ocean for potential oil and gas drilling activities.

Public comments are now being accepted on the National Outer Continental Shelf Oil & Gas Leasing Program for 2019-2024.

DHSS reports 1,200 new flu cases in a week, death toll rises to 11

NCC reports first death without underlying conditions

If anything can slow this flu season down, it’s vaccines and good handwashing. Prevention is considered more important than ever, as the Delaware Department of Health & Social Services (DHSS) is rapidly updating its flu toll and on Wednesday confirmed the state’s 11th influenza-related death this flu season.

Tower 3 a beacon in state park’s economic contributions

Coastal Point • Tyler Valliant: Tower 3, located south of Dewey Beach in Delaware Seashore State Park, took on a cobalt-drenched tone during a lighting ceremony on Monday, Feb. 12.Coastal Point • Tyler Valliant: Tower 3, located south of Dewey Beach in Delaware Seashore State Park, took on a cobalt-drenched tone during a lighting ceremony on Monday, Feb. 12.Against the backdrop of a spectacular sunset, a World War II observation tower became a dramatically lighted landmark on Monday, Feb. 12, while state officials touted the results of a study showing the equally dramatic impact of Delaware’s state parks on its economy.

The addition of cobalt-blue lighting to Tower 3, located just south of Dewey Beach in Delaware Seashore State Park, signals the next step in the restoration of the tower, one of 11 built along the Delaware coast between 1939 and 1942. The towers were used to track enemy vessels off the coast. Using triangulation to plot the ship’s location, observers then transmitted the information to Fort Miles, now part of Cape Henlopen State Park, where the readings were plotted on a large map.

Using that information, large guns at Fort Miles could then be aimed in the direction of the ships. The guns — with 6-inch, 12-inch and 16-inch barrels — could fire 2,700-pound shells 25 miles. But the guns were never fired at an enemy ship.

Currently, only Tower 7 at Cape Henlopen, which sits next to Fort Miles, is open to the public. Once the restoration of Tower 3 is complete, plans include opening it to the general public as well, with interpretive tours available. Eventually, the Delaware Shore Preservation Foundation hopes to also open Tower 1 in Fenwick Island State Park and Tower 2 in North Bethany.

Curran taking readers to Africa in new book

Coastal Point • Submitted Photo: ‘On to Africa’ is the second installment in local writer Walter Curran’s series about a young Merchant Marine who travels the world on a cargo ship.Coastal Point • Submitted Photo: ‘On to Africa’ is the second installment in local writer Walter Curran’s series about a young Merchant Marine who travels the world on a cargo ship.While many know him as the mayor of Ocean View, Walter Curran has lived what might seem like 10 different lives. And, for those who love to read, he’s put those experiences in a series of books, with his latest story focusing on Africa.

“It’s great. I love writing, and I even enjoy the editing, because it’s a learning process for me,” he said.

Following that love, Curran recently published the second installment of his three-part “Young Mariners” series — “On to Africa.”

The series follows the life of William Connolly, a street kid from South Boston, as he embarks on his first job as a third-mate on the cargo ship the MorMacPride. The books are loosely based on adventures Curran and his shipmates had while they were in the Merchant Marines.

ABC hearing the next step for Ropewalk in Bethany

Coastal Point • Shaun M. Lambert: Ropewalk’s new 325-seat location in Bethany Beach is slated for a June opening.­Coastal Point • Shaun M. Lambert: Ropewalk’s new 325-seat location in Bethany Beach is slated for a June opening.­After expanding their restaurant from Baltimore to the Delmarva shore in 2013, the owners of Ropewalk have since set out to establish themselves in downtown Bethany Beach, constructing what will be a brand new 325-seat location one block off the beach at 107 Garfield Parkway, formerly the location of Fish Tales, which has moved across the street.

County continues work to update zoning code

As it works to update the county’s zoning code, the Sussex County Council this week reviewed some of the areas recommended for updates, with plans to hold public hearings on the amendments as they are introduced.

Insurance commissioner opens office in Georgetown

Coastal Point • Maria Counts: The Delaware Department of Insurance recently opened up a new office in Georgetown.Coastal Point • Maria Counts: The Delaware Department of Insurance recently opened up a new office in Georgetown.Those seeking help from the Delaware Department of Insurance no longer have to drive an hour away to speak with someone in person, as the department just opened its first offices in Sussex County.

“Almost two-thirds of walk-in visitors to our Kent County office are from Sussex County, and the majority of them are seniors,” said Commissioner Trinidad Navarro. “I’m excited that we are now able to help them closer to their home.”

Located on the Circle in Georgetown, the office will be open to the public Monday through Friday, from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

“We saw the possibility of what a beautiful place this could be — I’m so proud to give folks who live right here in Sussex County,” he said.

Navarro said the new office came, in large part, thanks to House Bill 77, which addressed the issue of citizen accessibility to be able to speak with department personnel locally by opening a Department of Insurance office in Sussex County.

Navarro said the department has been working on many things, including workers’ compensation rates.

“Last year, workers’ compensation insurance went up 0 percent, which is great news for business owners… It was a big deal to have a 0-percent rate increase, but I said that wasn’t good enough,” he said.

Fenwick juggling commercial parking rules again

Parking is no easy feat in Fenwick Island during the summers. Any business able to succeed might run out of parking in its regular lot and could have to get creative.

But the Fenwick Island Town Council is trying to get a handle on things, and historically, they have not wanted cars migrating too far from the businesses their drivers are supposed to be patronizing.

Millville cancels 2018 election

Two candidates registered for the two seats up for election in 2018, so the Millville Town Council election has been canceled.

With no opponents, incumbent Steve Maneri and challenger Ronald Belinko will be sworn in at the regular council meeting on March 13 at 7 p.m. Each seat carries a term of two years.

New minister joins Ocean View Church of Christ

Coastal Point • Tyler Valliant: Ocean View Church of Christ recently welcomed the Rev. Ethan Magee as its new minister.Coastal Point • Tyler Valliant: Ocean View Church of Christ recently welcomed the Rev. Ethan Magee as its new minister.Ocean View Church of Christ recently welcomed a new minister to its halls.

“I want us to be a community-minded church. I believe the church is meant to help make the community a better place. We’re supposed to be salt and light in the community where we are, and I believe that means make it better,” said the Rev. Ethan Magee.

Magee and his wife, Stefanie, along with their three kids — ages 9, 11 and 13 — moved to the area in November after serving at a church in Columbus, Ohio, for six years. Prior to that, Magee served at a church nearby, in Lewes, for 12 years.

“I went to Cincinnati Christian University,” said Magee, an Ohio native. “We love the area, the beach, the beautiful people that are incredibly welcoming and friendly. It feels like home.”

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