Here's a look at news and events from around southern Delaware this week.
All-time high for ambulance calls in Harrington in 2021
The Harrington Fire Company’s ambulance squad has been busier than ever, representatives of the fire company told City Council on Tuesday.
EMS Capt. Robert Taylor said the 2,040 ambulance responses were “the most that the Harrington Fire Company has ever done in our history.” That tally was 138 higher than in 2020, and 168 higher than 2019. That’s in the neighborhood of an extra month’s worth of calls over the course of the year.
The department doesn’t have solid numbers on how much COVID has contributed to that rise, but EMS Financial Secretary Chad Robinson said he estimates 60 percent or more of calls in December were COVID related. That said, the department’s numbers show ambulance calls actually declining in December compared to earlier in the year, despite the surge in cases statewide.
Still, as Taylor observed, other kinds of emergencies don’t stop while the pandemic is going on, so there are still heart attacks and strokes and other emergency calls in addition to the COVID cases.
Taylor said if the number of calls continues to rise, “we stand ready to continue to be there to respond to those emergencies whenever needed.”
They're building a what?
While I was covering the Harrington Council meeting, they kept talking about elevated water storage tanks, a thing I had not heard much about before. But it slowly dawned on me that they were talking about water towers. This has happened to me before, like when I realized “grade separated intersections” are overpasses. I might need to buy an engineer-to-English dictionary.
Anyway, it seems the city is accepting bids on big projects including work on the water main along Route 13 and building a new water tower, which I wrote about back in August. Engineer Daniel String said they are still reviewing the bids, but the project remains within the amount of money the city thinks it can muster. The Council has not taken a final vote on the projects yet.
Injured fire police captain returns home
Ken Tull, the fire police captain who was badly hurt when he was hit by a vehicle at an accident scene back in October, has finally returned home from a rehab center, the Seaford Volunteer Fire Department announced on Facebook.
Tull, 83, was hit by an SUV while working at an accident scene, even though he was wearing a high-visibility traffic vest, police said. They arrested the man driving the SUV on charges of driving under the influence.
Tull came home Monday with an escort of fire vehicles.
“His journey of rehab will still continue after his return home,” the department said.
Teen dies in Millsboro crash
A 13-year-old Frankford girl died in a crash Monday on Hollyville Road northeast of Millsboro, Delaware State Police said.
The girl, Josephine Fleming-Lloyd, was a passenger in a Jeep driven by a 17-year-old girl, also of Frankford. The driver lost control of the Jeep and ended up in the other lane, where a flatbed truck smashed into the passenger side where Josephine Fleming-Lloyd was riding. The girl was pronounced dead at the scene.
The teen driver was treated for minor injuries at Beebe, police said. They did not say if the driver of the truck, a 26-year-old Salisbury man, was injured.
Shining that spotlight — or trying to
The Independent got a shout out from Bike Delaware on Twitter the other day after running our story on candidates for the Greenwood Council.
Those are gratifying kudos, but before we pat ourselves on the back too much it's probably relevant to note that the top vote-getters won with fewer than 60 votes, so the news coverage didn’t exactly inspire huge turnout this time.
However, we’ll keep trying to inform people about what’s going on in the community. If you know someone in Greenwood (or elsewhere in the area) who might be interested in local news, consider forwarding them this email to let them know about the Independent.
How to see if you will have broadband any time soon
Delaware has announced the expansion of broadband internet access to every address. So when is that happening? There’s a way to check if broadband is now available at your address or is coming soon. Just go to the Delaware Broadband Initiative’s handy web page, wait 20 minutes for the page to load, then search your address. Residents can also flag their address as not having broadband yet – using a web form, of course.
Library vaccination event
The Laurel Public Library is partnering with Express Pharmacy to offer flu shots and COVID shots (including boosters) on Wednesday, Jan. 26 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. The flu shot is available to those 3 and older, and the COVID vaccine is available to those 5 and older. Complete the consent form in advance to save time, and bring ID, insurance card and previous vaccination card.
The library said the COVID vaccines are free. The flu shots are free for those with insurance, and $30 for those without insurance. The senior flu shot costs $78 without insurance.
An intriguing read
This has nothing to do with southern Delaware, but a story from a newsletter in New York caught my eye recently. It seems a 69-year-old New York entrepreneur, upon his recovery from hospitalization with COVID, suddenly became a prolific artist despite having no art background. I’m no art critic, so I can’t tell if these paintings are any good, but according to him he’s been compared to Jackson Pollock. It’s quite the story, which you can find in the Examiner + newsletter. (For the record, I’ve long maintained that anybody with paint, gravity and a canvas could paint a Pollock, but I’ve been given to understand that this is an ignorant and uncultured opinion.)
Food aid rescheduled
The drive-thru food pantry mentioned in last week’s newsletter was postponed because of weather. The new date is Monday, Jan. 24, the Food Bank of Delaware announced. It is still being held at Crossroad Community Church at 20684 State Forest Road west of Georgetown.
The event is first come, first served and starts at 10 a.m. Bring proof of Delaware residence, like a state issued ID, a utility bill or a SNAP benefits card. Preregistration is requested to speed up the process.
Sorry, wrong number
While we’re on the topic of things that were wrong in last week’s newsletter, the Greenwood Library’s number is actually 302-855-1242.
I’ll be at the Greenwood Library on Wednesday to talk to teens about facts, opinions, and critical thinking about the news. Registration is required. Sign up online or call the real, correct phone number listed above.
The Bridgeville Library’s coat giveaway for children runs through Saturday, Jan. 22. Bring children by the library for a free coat from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday or 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday.