Sussex County Council Silences Public

GEORGETOWN, DE – Have you EVER been to a City Council, County Council, Planning Commission, (or any other government board or commission) meeting where the public is denied the opportunity to get up and comment?  If you live in Sussex County you now have the opportunity.

The Sussex County Council has decided that there will be public comment … but only AFTER they have held their regular meeting AND their executive session.

Here’s how it works:

  • Council holds public session (public can’t speak).
  • Regular meeting adjourns and council enters executive session (public can’t be in the room).
  • After anywhere from 10 minutes to hours, the public (if anyone has actually stayed around, and of course the cameras are long gone) can come back in and have their say.

This sounds an awful lot like President Obama’s pledge to have the most transparent administration in history.  Democracy in action.  God Bless America!

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Media Monday – April 8, 2013

WGMD HOST NOT READY FOR PRIME (OR ANY OTHER) TIME

When I’m cruising through Delaware (or northern Worcester or Wicomico counties) I often bump my dial over one tick from WICO-FM to hear what’s going on at WGMD-FM.  While I like talk radio, I prefer some local content and WICO is now 99.9% syndicated. (two public radio stations are now the only source of real local content on the Lower Shore)

Two Sundays ago I happened to tune in and heard some guy named Bill Rogers spouting the most ridiculous nonsense this side of MSNBC.  The problem?  Rogers claims to be a conservative.  Personally, I think we should trade this guy to the left for a future third round draft pick.

What was Rogers’ crime?  The guy’s entire show (I only listened for about 90 minutes while I was driving to Seaford and back) was an attack on Libertarians.  Sure, everyone has a right to their opinion.  I don’t disagree with Rogers’ premise that voting Libertarian is often equivalent to voting Democrat, but Rogers’ reasoning was based on a false premise that I found quite offensive.

Rogers claimed that Libertarians were foolish because of their stance on gay marriage.  He specifically claimed that same-sex marriage laws would require churches to marry same-sex couples.  He didn’t say this once either.  Rogers must of repeated this at least a dozen times in the period I was listening.

It’s bad enough that my party (the GOP) is systematically driving libertarian-minded voters away, now we have a supposedly conservative, local talk host trying to do the same with what are basically lies.

I will concede that the day may come that some court, even the US Supreme Court, may make such an outrageous ruling.  However, that day has not arrived … YET.  It’s bad enough that nominally Christian denominations such as the Episcopal Church perform what are de facto gay weddings.  We have enough battles to fight in the present.  People like Rogers don’t need to make up problems.  If he is a conservative, as he claims, he also doesn’t need to deliberately offend a portion of the electorate we need to win.

PARKER, CLAYBAUGH SHOW TRUE COLORS … AGAIN

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Maryland Group Enters Sussex Sheriff’s Fray Over Powers

GEORGETOWN, DE – Sussex County Sheriff Jeff Christopher’s ongoing battle with the state of Delaware over the extent (limit) of his powers has found an out-of-state ally.  The Pasadena, MD based Institute on the Constitution hosted a forum yesterday at DelTech’s Georgetown campus.

“Our drive is to raise up a citizenry that understands these issues and can act on them from a basis of knowledge, not just petty personal interests,” said Michael Anthony Peroutka, a lawyer from Pasadena, Md., and founder of the institute.

Christopher argues that the state’s constitution provides his office with law enforcement powers.  Delaware governor Jack Markell, AG Beau Biden, and several state courts have disagreed.

photo courtesy of the Cape Gazette

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Bonini Endorses Lopez for DE Senate

LEWES, DE – The campaign of Ernie Lopez for the Delaware Senate’s 6th district just received a boost.  Sen. Colin Bonini (R-16) and Sen. Dave Lawson (R-15) have endorsed Lopez in his fight for the GOP nomination.  Lopez faces former U.S. House candidate Glen Urquhart in the Republican primary.

from the Cape Gazette:

Delaware representatives served up ice cream to supporters of Lewes resident Ernie Lopez at Hopkins Dairy Farm in Lewes.  About 40 people gathered, Aug. 17, to hear Sen. Colin Bonini, left, and Sen. Dave Lawson, right, announce their endorsements for Lopez, center, who is a Republican candidate for the newly create Senate District 6.

“Ernie is a conservative, a common sense conservative,” said Bonini, R-Dover South.  “This is a sincere person who’s doing it for the right reasons.”

Lawson, R-Marydel, said, “I’m delighted to support him and endorse him any way I can.”

Also shown are Lopez’s daughters Anna, left, and Claire.  “Our campaign has been about family,” Lopez said.

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Cape Henlopen Residents Face Higher Taxes or Spending Cuts in Next Budget

LEWES, DE – Cape Henlopen School District’s FY 2013 budget was balanced with a tax hike.  Next year district residents could face more of the same, or reduction in school budgets, if federal money declines.

In a preliminary budget presentation by CHSC business director Oliver Gumbs, board members were warned of possible cuts in federal funding due to sequestration.  Unless Congress acts in the next few months, discretionary federal spending is expected to be cut 7.8% – 9%.  This would include funding for items such as Title I.

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Waterboarding Pediatrician Gets Bail

GEORGETOWN, DE – Dr. Melvin Morse, the Sussex County pediatrician accused of abusing his daughter – including waterboarding – has been released on bond.  Morse is out on $14,500 secured bond, while his wife, Pauline Morse, is out on $14,500 unsecured bond in connection with felony endangering the welfare of a child and other charges.  The Morse children are in the care of the Delaware Division of Family Services.

photo courtesy of the Daily Telegraph

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Milford Man Arrested for 5th DUI

from the Cape Gazette

A 40-year-old Milford man faces charges after he led police on a high-speed chase Aug. 11 on Route 1 near Milton before crashing into a fence.

An officer tried to stop Josephi Anastasi at 11:22 p.m. for speeding while he drove southbound on Route 1 near Sylvan Acres Road, said Master Cpl. Gary Fournier of the Delaware State Police.

Anastasi refused to stop and swerved through traffic at high speeds before turning onto Reynolds Road, Fournier said.

Anastasi lost control of his vehicle and crashed into a construction sign and fence before coming to a stop, Fournier said.

He ran into a cornfield where the officer arrested him. Police charged Anastasi with his fifth driving under the influence charge, resisting arrest, disregarding a police officer’s signal, driving while suspended, speeding and other charges.

Fournier said Anastasi previously was arrested for DUI in 1992, 1999, 2003 and 2005.

He was committed to Sussex Correctional Institution in default of $11,759 cash bail.

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MAPP To Be Cancelled?

CAMBRIDGE, MD – The Star Democrat reports that the PJM Transmission Expansion Advisory Committee has recommended that the Mid-Atlantic Power Pathway (MAPP) project should be cancelled.

PJM issued Wednesday the final results of its 2012 transmission analysis, Jubic said, and “due to factors including lower load growth from the sluggish economy, the installation of new gas-fired power plants and the increase in demand response programs, no reliability violations were identified within the transmission planning window.”

The PJM Board of Managers is set to meet Friday, Aug. 24, to make a final decision on the TEAC’s recommendation, Jubic said.

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Sussex Citizens Turn Out to Support Prayer at Council Meetings

GEORGETOWN, DE – At last week’s meeting of the Sussex County Council, a group of citizens showed up to support the council’s long-standing practice of beginning its meetings with the Lord’s Prayer.  Federal District Court Judge Leonard Stark has prohibited the council from reciting the prayer.

Nearly half of council chambers was filled Aug. 7 with people who joined with council when they recited the 23rd Psalm to start the meeting. During the public participation portion at the end of the meeting, the Rev. John Betts of Abundant Life Church in Georgetown, spoke on behalf of the group.

Betts said the lawsuit and court action are part of a pattern of activities taking place across the nation to erode freedom of speech and other rights. “This is not a political battle, but a spiritual war,” Betts said.

He said from the time the foundation of government was laid, prayer has been used to open legislative sessions. “In these chambers, your practice has been the same as our founding fathers,” he said. “When a people forget their fathers, they do not know who they are anymore. We commend county council for standing up for the tradition of our fathers.”

Betts said there is a concerted effort under way to erase the memory of the county’s roots and basic beliefs. “Your stand in protecting these memories and practices is commendable. We urge you to continue to resist this attempt to forget who we are,” he said.

Betts presented council with 300 signed letters in support of the council’s policy of using The Lord’s Prayer at meetings.

photo courtesy of the Cape Gazette

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Manufactured Homes Dominate Sussex County Candidate Debate

MILLSBORO, DE – Owners of manufactured homes showed up in force at the August 2nd candidate forum hosted by American Legion Post 28.  At the top of their minds were the candidates’ stances on a bill put before the Delaware legislature this year which would have limited increases in the lot rent paid by many manufactured homeowners.  SB 205 passed the Delaware Senate but failed in Delaware House.

photo courtesy of Cape Gazette

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Burton Challenging Extradition

GEORGETOWN, DE – Matthew Burton, the accused murderer of Nicole Bennett, continues to challenge his extradition to Worcester County.  Judge Howard Mulvaney III of Delaware’s Justice of the Peace Court number 3 signed Burton’s extradition order Monday.  However, Burton will continue to be held in Delaware pending a habeas corpus hearing in Delaware Superior Court on Thursday.

If the Superior Court concurs with his extradition, Burton will be transported to Snow Hill, MD for arraignment and then held at the Worcester County Detention Center.

photo courtesy of Cape Gazette

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Dewey Beach Mayor Called to Resign

DEWEY BEACH, DE – In the wake of an Attorney General’s opinion that the mayor and council of Dewey Beach was guilty of multiple violations of the state’s open meetings law, the former mayor of this resort town has called on the current mayor to resign.  Former mayor Dell Tush, in a July 27th letter to Dewey Beach mayor Diane Hanson, asked Hanson to resign.  “It is time for you to resign before our town is damaged beyond repair,” Tush said.

“The micromanaging atmosphere you have created toward our town employees, including the police department, and our businesses have reached bounds beyond your scope of authority,” Tush wrote.  She did not cite individual instances to prove Hanson’s guilt but said she could provide them to further the request.

Tush also accused Hanson of spending town funds recklessly.

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Media Monday – July 30, 2011

Why Is Freedom of the Press the Only Inviolate Freedom?

You often hear (or read) in the media that the First Amendment is inviolate.  Yet, media coverage of our most basic freedoms begs a question or two:

  • Why are the other enumerated freedoms listed in our Bill of Rights no less important than those in the First Amendment?
  • Are those “sacred” freedoms found in the First Amendment really inviolate, or does this only apply to “freedom of the press”?

In Sunday’s Daily Times we are told that we need to have a discussion about gun control.  Our liberal friends shouldn’t expect the Lower Shore’s paper of record to go much farther on this issue.  They would lose too many readers and advertiser if they actually endorsed gun control or overtly supported Attorney General Doug Gansler and his attack on law abiding citizens who wish to carry a handgun.  Leave more strident opposition to the Second Amendment to outlets such as the Baltimore Sun or the Washington Post.

While the Bill of Rights guarantees “freedom of the press”, it also guarantees a “right to keep and bear arms”.  The Daily Times asks why a requirement to register a gun is wrong when we have to register cars.  I wonder what their response would be if they had to have a permit for their printing press?  Should we be having a “discussion” about placing restrictions on a free press?

Of course, we won’t even bother discussing little annoyances like the Tenth Amendment.  I doubt the editorial boards of any of the above mentioned papers even know that one exists.

Even the First Amendment isn’t sacrosanct to most of today’s mainstream media.  They seem to forget that there are other parts to the amendment than freedom of the press.  As activist courts have changed “freedom OF religion” to “freedom FROM religion” we have heard little from the mainstream media other than applause.  Ironically, thanks in part to the media, secular humanism has become the established religion of our media AND our government.  I wonder if we should be having a “discussion” about that.

Where is Local News on the Radio?

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Beachgoer Lacks Engineering Degree … And Common Sense

REHOBOTH BEACH, DE – It’s not an unusual sight at the beach, children or even adults digging a hole in the sand or building a sand castle.  What happens when you dig two holes and try to connect them with a tunnel?

One beachgoer learned what most of us would already know – it doesn’t take much to collapse a tunnel dug in the sand.  This man’s lack of common sense almost cost him his life.

photo courtesy of the Wilmington News-Journal

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Bay Shore Community Church Issues Statement Regarding Bennett Murder

GUMBORO, DE – Bay Shore Community Church, the church homes of the families of Nicole Bennett and the man accused of her murder, has issued a statement:

"We pray that justice will be done with respect to this tragic event," reads the statement from Bay Shore Community Church outside Gumboro.

"Bay Shore continues to cooperate fully with the authorities with respect to this investigation while also supporting and ministering to Nicole’s family," the July 7 statement reads. "When we became aware that [Burton] had a criminal record which had not been previously disclosed, he was informed that his contract would be terminated. Mr. Burton’s work for Bay Shore Community Church ended on June 14, 2012."

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Church Custodian Arrested in Murder of Nicole Bennett

from WMDT.com

WHALEYVILLE, MD – A Dagsboro man has been arrested in the murder of Delaware woman Nicole Bennett. Bennett’s body was found in Worcester County last month. Maryland State Police arrested 28-year-old Matthew Burton Friday night during a traffic stop in Rehoboth Beach. Burton is reported to be a custodian at Bennett’s Church, Bay Shore Community Church. Officials are still searching for a motive in the case, but say Burton is being charged with first and second degree murder.

Maryland State Police have remained tight-lipped about the case before Burton’s arrest. They are now saying that Bennett’s cause of death was asphyxiation. Authorities are also saying that she was already dead when her body was left in the embankment off of Swamp Road in Worcester County. Bennett is survived by her husband Kevin and their three young children.

Family members told WMDT earlier this week that the family is staying strong. They still attend the church, where Nicole was last reported to be the night before she was found dead. Before the arrest, Bennett’s Father-In-Law Bob Bennett said, "It’s our faith and we’re not questioning God. It’s an evil world, evil things happen to good people and we have to be protective. I think we’re more protective than ever."

Maryland State Police say the investigation is ongoing and they are still trying to determine the actual crime scene in the case. Burton is being held at the Sussex Correctional Institution pending extradition to Maryland.

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Letter to the Editor – June 27, 2012

Deputy Torres’ Hearing

You had to be at the Hearing to hear the testimony of witnesses and evidence to know that the decision by the Sussex County Board of Personnel had observers shaking their heads at the total disregard of the testimony and evidence presented on behalf of Deputy Torres. The observers in the room were in palpable disbelief upon hearing the board’s verdict.

This board relied on gps readings from cars that frequently lose battery power, recorded 7 mph when the car was parked, didn’t consider that different deputies drove the same vehicles and they had an entirely incorrect home address for Mr. Torres. They bickered over his stopping by his wife’s office since she would buy his sandwiches for him and perhaps eat lunch together. The had her work address incorrect as well.  Hardly viable evidence.

Deputy Torres gave a full and complete accounting of his time on the records. Sheriff Christopher’s words described Deputy Torres as you would a consummate professional.

He served the largest area in the county. Rather than consider all of the testimony and evidence provided in the hearing, this Kangaroo Court instead determined to destroy Torres’ character, reputation and any ability to find future work. They are saddling the county with the cost of two lawsuits because of their actions. The County Council has refused to rehire either Mr. Torres and another deputy that left to take a police chief’s job. The Sheriff’s staff is cut down, he has one computer in a small office and cars that repeatedly break down. The county is grinding out the sheriff’s department. The quality of service provided to the courts will suffer with these cuts in staff.

Those 5,000 voters that elected the Sheriff need to once again give him their support.

R. Carol

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Democrat Price Kicks Off Campaign to Succeed Gerald Hocker

ROXANA, DE – Realtor Shirley Price has kicked off her campaign to replace Delaware Rep. Gerald Hocker (R-38) in the Delaware House.  Hocker is retiring from the House to run for the Delaware Senate.

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Firing of Sussex Deputy Upheld

GEORGETOWN, DE – The Sussex County Board of Personnel has unanimously upheld the firing of Sheriff’s deputy Ishmael Torres.  By a 3-0 vote the board agreed that County Administrator Todd Lawson had acted properly in dismissing Torres for the filing of questionable overtime requests.

Supporters of Sheriff Jeff Christopher have argued that the dismissal of Torres was politically motivated.  Christopher has filed suit against the county and state of Delaware in response to their position that Christopher and his deputies are not law enforcement officers and lack the legal authority to make arrests.

photos courtesy of the Cape Gazette

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Delaware Senate Passes Bill to Clarify Limits of Sheriff’s Powers

DOVER, DE – By a 12-3 vote, the Delaware Senate passed a bill to clarify the limits of a county sheriff’s powers in Delaware.  HB 325 now goes to Gov. Jack Markell for his signature.

The bill was in response to actions taken by Sussex County Sheriff Jeff Christopher.  Christopher has brought suit in Delaware courts arguing that as the “conservator of the peace” he and his deputies have the right to make arrests and perform other law enforcement duties.  The Sussex County Council disagrees with this interpretation.

No senator from Sussex County voted for the legislation.

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Sussex Council Looking for Compromise on Opening Sessions with Prayer

GEORGETOWN, DE – After a federal judge ruled that the Sussex County Council was in violation of the establishment clause by opening each meeting with the Lord’s Prayer, the council is seeking a compromise.  Under a compromised, which passed by a 3-2 vote, the council president would open each meeting with a non-sectarian prayer.  On occasion, the Lord’s Prayer would be used.

photo courtesy of the Cape Gazette

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A fitting pause to remember Dr. James Beebe Jr.


Several hundred of the Beebe Medical Center extended family came out June 14 for the funeral of Dr. James Beebe Jr. at Epworth United Methodist Church.
Judge Bill Lee, chairman of the Beebe Medical Center board of trustees, was one of eight professional associates, family members and friends who delivered eulogies for Dr. Beebe, who died Friday, June 8. Lee opened and closed his eulogy with the same sentence: …

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Fire at Beebe Hospital

LEWES, DE – A fire on the fifth floor of Beebe Medical center caused the evacuation of floor.  The fire began in the bathroom of a patient room.  It was caused by a faulty light fixture.  The fire was extinguished by the room’s sprinkler system.  No one was injured in the fire.  Several rooms sustained water damage.

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Sussex County – 23 Years Without Property Tax Rate Increase

GEORGETOWN, DE – Sussex County unveiled a $121.1 million proposed budget for FY 2013 Tuesday.  For the 23rd consecutive year the county has completed its budget without proposing an increase in the county’s real property tax rate.

Included in the budget is a $0.035 tax credit (incorrectly called a rebate in some reports) for the coming fiscal year.  Under the plan taxpayers whose taxes are current will receive a credit against their current tax bill.  This amounts to a 7.8% decrease in  the effective tax rate.

Because Delaware has independent school districts, the county budget does not include the cost of public schools.

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School Budget Cuts Spark Protest

LAUREL, DE – Students at Laurel High School staged a protest Friday to oppose personnel cuts in the district.  Fifteen teacher, two secretaries, six custodians, and twelve paraprofessionals were notified Friday that they would not be employed by the Laurel School District next year.  The reduction-in-force was made necessary by a $650,000 shortfall in the district’s budget.  The fifteen teachers represent 8.7% of the districts total teaching force.

photo courtesy of the Wilmington News-Journal

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Bill To Restrict Sheriff’s Powers Passes Delaware House

CHRISTOPHER FILES SUIT IN SUPERIOR COURT

DOVER, DE – The Delaware House of Representatives passed a bill Thursday designed to codify the duties of a county sheriff and his or her deputies, including that they do not have the legal authority to make arrests or investigate crimes.  The bill, HB 325,  passed by a vote of 36 – 2 with one abstention.  Rep. John Atkins (D-41) and Rep. Gerald Hocker (R-38) were the two votes against the bill.

On Wednesday Sussex County Sheriff Jeff Christopher filed lawsuit in Superior Court requesting a declaratory judgment that he and his deputies do have arrest and investigative powers under Delaware’s constitution and that he is the chief law enforcement offer of Sussex County.

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Sussex County Adopts Dress Code

GEORGETOWN, DE – In the private sector most people don’t give a second thought to dressing appropriately.  If you want to be considered for promotion or even keep your job, you aren’t going to show up for work wearing bib overalls and no shirt.  Working for the government is a bit different.  Civil service protection often times means never having to worry about such things … UNLESS there is a specific policy in place.

This is exactly what Sussex County has done.  New County Administrator Todd Lawson has designed a dress code for all county employees.

"I think most people understand there’s a certain level of professionalism that certain jobs require," Lawson said in an interview. No one instance of sloppy dress prompted the new code, he said, but a review of policies since he took office late last year turned up no dress code, so he and his department heads developed one. …

… "All body art, such as tattoos or body piercings, of questionable public acceptance will be kept covered," the policy states. If a county employee’s manager deems an outfit too casual, the employee can be sent home to change, off the clock.

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Dogfish Head Brewery Receives Approval for Expansion

MILTON, DE – Dogfish Head Brewery has received approval from the Milton Planning and Zoning Commission to move forward with a 208,000 square feet expansion of its current facility in Milton.  Dogfish Chief Operating Officer Nick Benz said the addition is part of the company’s larger plan to increase production to 500,000 barrels per year over at least the next 10 years from an estimated 150,000 barrels this year.  This expansion is in addition to build a 102,500 square foot warehouse on an adjacent property.

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Joan Deaver to Announce for Re-Election to Sussex County Council

LEWES, DE – Sussex County councilwoman Joan Deaver (D-3) will announce her intent to seek re-election today at 5:30 PM.  Deaver, who is in her first term on council, will kick-off her re-election campaign at The Kitchen in the Paynters Mill development off Paynters Mill Road on Route 1 at Cave Neck Road.

Deaver represents District 3 on the council.  You can see her campaign web page HERE.

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Gingrich Campaigning in Georgetown

GEORGETOWN, DE – Former House Speaker, and GOP Presidential hopeful, Newt Gingrich will be speaking at the Delmarva Christian High School this evening.  Gingrich will be speaking between 5:00 PM and 6:00 PM this evening.

Delaware’s primary is next week.


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Dukes Announces for 40th District Seat

LAUREL, DE – Tim Dukes, son of former Sussex County Council president Dale Dukes, has announced that he will be seeking the GOP nomination for the 40th District House seat currently held by Rep. Clifford "Biff" Lee (R-40).  Lee is not running for re-election.

Dukes has been active in the community for several years. He has coached Little League baseball, high school basketball, Pop Warner football and junior high softball; served on the Community Benefit Committee at Nanticoke Memorial Hospital, Wellness Center Committee at Laurel High School, Laurel L.E.A.D, Superintendent Feasibility Search Committee, served on two school boards, president of the Laurel Ministerial Association, a member of the Good Samaritan Board, friend of Delmarva Teen Challenge and led over 40 overseas missions trips with community members of all ages.

Dukes is senior pastor of the Central Worship Center in Laurel.

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Gingrich Addresses Delaware Tea Party

MILLSBORO, DE – Former House Speaker and GOP presidential hopeful Newt Gingrich spoke to the Delaware 9-12 Patriots Thursday at the Millsboro fire hall.  Gingrich stated that a win in the April 24th Delaware primary could be a springboard to more victories.

"A win in this state changes things and sends out a signal to the remaining states," he said. "People and ideas beat money and machinery. I recruit you to help me."

Gingrich received the greatest ovation when speaking about energy policy:

"I want to ensure that a future president never bows to a Saudi king again," he said. Gingrich said opening federal lands and more offshore areas to oil drilling would create millions of new jobs and add trillions of dollars in royalties to help offset the federal budget deficit.

photo courtesy of the Cape Gazette

Source – the Cape Gazette

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Fatal Bus Crash in Sussex County

OAK ORCHARD, DE – A crash between an Indian River School District bus and a car resulted in a fatality this morning on Rt. 24 near Oak Orchard.  Delaware State Police confirm that there was one fatality from the car.  Three children on the bus, heading to Long Neck Elementary School, were sent to the hospital for minor injuries.  The Delaware State Police are investigating the accident.

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Bethany Beach Named “Best Beach”

BETHANY BEACH, DE – Travel + Leisure magazine has named Bethany Beach as one of the “Best Secret Beaches on Earth”.  Bethany Beach ranked 7th out of 17 beaches in this category.

courtesy of WMDT

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Lewes Library to Stay in Town

LEWES, DE – After toying with the idea of moving out to Five Points, the Lewes Library Board has selected a site adjacent to the current library and will begin the task of raising funds for the construction of a new library.  The board chose construction of a new library over renovation of the existing building arguing that the costs were close and a new building will provide at least 15 years of additional useful life over that offered by a renovated building.

photo courtesy of the Cape Gazette

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Bob Frederick Announces Run for Delaware Senate Seat

DEWEY BEACH, DE – Former Dewey Beach mayor Bob Frederick will seek the Democrat nomination for the 6th senatorial district.  The district encompasses Dewey Beach, Rehoboth Beach, Lewes, and Milton.

“I think we have a great opportunity to make the 6th seat the most dynamic in the state,” Frederick said.  “There’s continuity among the communities.”

The economy of each community in the 6thDistrict is largely centered on tourism, which equates to jobs, Frederick said.  He also said his campaign will focus on services and education.

Frederick will face realtor Andy Staton in September’s Democrat primary.  The winner will face either Glen Urquhart or Ernesto Lopez in the November general election.

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Delaware Senator George Bunting Announces Retirement

DOVER, DE – Delaware senator George Bunting (D-20) announced from the Senate floor on Tuesday that he will not seek re-election.  Bunting, chairman of the Senate Agriculture, Sunset, and Veterans Affairs committees has served in the senate since 1996.  From 1982 – 1984 and 1986 – 1996 he served in the Delaware House of Representatives.

Rep. Gerald Hocker (R-38) is expected to seek Bunting’s seat.  DelawareLiberal.net reports that House Majority Leader Peter Schwartzkopf (D-14) is in discussions with Bunting to prevent his endorsement of Hocker.

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Another Coach Arrested for Unlawful Contact with Minor

LEWES, DE – Jordan Thomas, the JV Girl’s basketball coach at Cape Henlopen High School, was arrested March 1st after it was reported that he kissed a 15 year old student while giving her a ride home.  Thomas has been suspended from all coaching duties.

photo courtesy of Cape Gazette

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Delaware AG – Sheriff’s Deputies Cannot Make Arrests

GEORGETOWN, DE – Let’s try this one more time – the Sheriff’s Office of Sussex County is not empowered to make arrests.  This ruling recently came down from the office of Delaware Attorney General Beau Biden.

After numerous court decisions and opinions from multiple AG’s, Sussex County Sheriff Jeff Christopher still maintains that he and his deputies have the same police powers as do policemen.

While readers on the Maryland and Virginia Eastern Shore may believe this is strange – the Sheriff’s office is a primary law enforcer in these 11 counties – across the Bay, in both states, the Sheriff is usually limited to serving court papers and (sometimes) running the jail.

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Accident Closes Lane on Delaware Rt. 1

LEWES, DE – An accident has closed one southbound lane on Delaware Route 1 near the Nassau bridge.

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Lopez Announces Campaign Committee

LEWES, DE – GOP candidate Ernesto Lopez has announced his campaign committee for the upcoming race for the GOP nomination to take the 6th Senate district.  Karen Pickard, a nursing instructor at Beebe School of Nursing, will serve as Lopez’s campaign manager.  Carol Kitchen, a Lewes accountant, will serve as campaign treasurer.

The other members of Lopez’s campaign committee include:

Dan Anderson of Rehoboth Beach, Elizabeth Barnhart of Rehoboth Beach, J. Caleb Boggs of Lewes, Jack Bushey of Milton, Walter Hopkins of Cool Spring, Ron Krajewski of Lewes, Michele Walfred of Lewes, Tim Winsted of Rehoboth Beach and Lopez’s wife, Janis Lopez.

Lopez faces Glen Urquhart in the September 11th primary.  The winner will face Democrat Andy Stanton in November.

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Milton Town Council Considers Paving Neighborhood Streets

MILTON, DE – The Milton Town Council is looking into paving heavily potholed streets in the Shipbuilder’s Village neighborhood.  Funding would come from leftover state funds as well as the municipal street aid account.

Shipbuilder’s resident Patti Rowley said this project is long overdue.

“Not only is it bad for appearance, but it’s also a safety hazard,” she said. “My daughter riding her bike has fallen. When I was 39 weeks pregnant in October, I was walking … and fell.”

She said she’s counted at least 27 pot holes in the community.

photo courtesy of the Cape Gazette

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Delaware Senator Calls for Reassessment in Sussex County

GEORGETOWN, DE – Delaware Sen. George Bunting (D-20) thinks that Sussex County needs a reassessment.  The last comprehensive reassessment was in 1974.  Bunting has contacted all members of the General Assembly representing Sussex County and the members of the Sussex County Council.

Sussex County residents and businesses currently pay different rates based on what school district they are in.  They pay tax on 50% of the current assessed value of a property.  This is one reason why a property tax rate comparison between Sussex County and a county in a state like Maryland (where reassessment is on a revolving three year cycle) or even Virginia (where reassessments are required at least once every ten years) is difficult.

Bunting argues a reassessment in Sussex County would provide more funds for schools.  This assumes that the rates for school districts would remain the same.

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Delaware AG Rejects Complaints of Ocean View Residents

OCEAN VIEW, DE – The office of Delaware Attorney General Beau Biden has issued a ruling which rejects complaints filed by 65 Ocean View residents concerning the contract of Ocean View police chief Ken McLaughlin and possible open meetings violations by the town council.

Biden’s office opined that McLaughlin’s contract, which specifies that he police chief reports to the town mayor rather than the town manager, does not violate the town’s charter.  The AG’s office also stated that it does not engage in speculation and without proof of wrongdoing, it will not pursue a complaint that town council members gather socially and discuss town business at these gatherings.

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Lewes Library Board Revolts

LEWES, DE – It seems that Wicomico County isn’t the only place where the local library board thinks it can ignore the body that funds it.  The Lewes Library Board of Commissioners has decided that it wants to either build a new library on land that it doesn’t already own or to build a new library out at Five Points.  This is after the mayor and town council expressed their desire for the existing library to be renovated.

The town council was surprised at the library board’s decision.  It had already expressed its support for renovating the existing library within town.  The town owns the current library building and leases it to the library board for $1 per year.  The town also pays for the building’s utilities.

If the library chooses to move out of town, the Friends of the Lewes Public Library stated that its financial support for the library would probably diminish.

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Sussex Councilman Cleared

GEORGETOWN, DE – Sussex County Councilman Sam Wilson has been cleared by the Delaware Public Integrity Commission of two complaints regarding land-use applications that came before the council.  In one complaint an anonymous source complained that Wilson had purchased hay at a below market price from the applicant, Russell Banks.  In the second complaint a county resident alleged that Wilson had a financial interest in a manufactured housing park and should not vote on any legislation regarding manufactured housing parks.

While it was determined that Wilson had purchased hay from Banks two times in the last twenty years, there was no evidence that Wilson received the hay at a below market rate.  Regarding the second complaint, it was discovered that Wilson did own an interest in several lots where manufactured homes were placed.  However, the property was zoned general residential or agricultural-residential.  Sussex County has a separate zoning designation for manufactured housing parks.  Since Wilson had no financial interest in a manufactured housing park there was no reason that he should not be able to vote on matters relating to them.

photo courtesy of the Cape Gazette

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Sussex County Council Debates Electronic Billboards

GEORGETOWN, DE – The Sussex County Council is debating whether or not to permit electronic billboards through a special-use exception.  If permitted, the billboards would have not allow flashing lights or animation.  They would also have to stay on the same advertisement for at least 10 seconds.

Digital billboards have been growing in popularity with billboard owners, and advertisers, throughout the country.  They allow advertisers to change ads on short notice and to advertise upcoming events or sales for short periods of time.  Because they usually rotate six (6) ads per minute and do not require the usual silkscreened display they are more affordable for advertisers.

Some residents and council members are concerned about safety concerns and the brightness of the signs:

Sign manufacturer Darrin Friskney said the signs use ambient lighting photocells with no brighter light than that given off by a porch light. In addition, he said, a 2007 Virginia Tech Institute of Traffic Safety study found that crashes on a road with an electronic billboard neither increased nor decreased. “It was neutral in terms of traffic safety,” Friskney said. He is director of Watchfire Digital Outdoor in Danville, Ill.

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Sussex County to Re-Finance Debt

GEORGETOWN, DE – Today the the Sussex County government will begin selling $59 million of general obligation debt in order to re-finance the county’s debt at a lower interest rate.  Members of the public, as well as institutional investors, will have access to the sale.  The sale is being handled by Wells Fargo Securities, M&T Securities, and RBC Capital Markets.

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2012 Lewes Polar Bear Plunge

LEWES, DE – Almost 4,000 plungers braved the winter temperatures to raise a record amount, over $650,000, to benefit the Delaware Special Olympics.

courtesy of the Cape Gazette

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Sussex County Council Agenda – February 7, 2012

GEORGETOWN, DE – Here is the agenda for today’s meeting of the Sussex County Council:

Call to Order

Approval of Agenda

Approval of Minutes

Reading of Correspondence

Todd Lawson, County Administrator
1. Administrator’s Report

Hal Godwin, Deputy County Administrator
1. Wastewater Agreement – The Reserve at North Bethany – Phase 1

Michael Izzo, County Engineer
1. Angola Neck Sanitary Sewer District – Contract 09-25
A. Substantial Completion
2. Inland Bays Regional Wastewater Facility
A. Phase 2A – Consultant Contract

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