Here's a look at news and events from around southern Delaware this week. If you're reading online, you can sign up here to get this newsletter delivered via email each week.
Harrington police chief Barlow moving on
Harrington Police Chief Norman Barlow is retiring after 28 years with the force, the police department announced Thursday.
"It has been an honor to serve the Harrington Community over the years," Barlow said in a statement. "I have been extremely blessed with a supportive community that has backed my ideas, and together we have accomplished so much."
In addition to his record as chief, Barlow leaves his name at a town gathering spot: The Chief Norman Barlow Pavilion at Freedom Park.
Barlow told the Independent he plans to stay in the area, and that he wants to enjoy some time with his family, including his three daughters ages 13, 16 and 26.
Barlow started his career in Harrington as an employee of public works in 1991, the police department said. He then became an officer, and eventually chief in 2009. He's also served as acting city manager multiple times when needed.
Teens can learn about journalism and meet the Independent staff (me)
Young people are growing up in an environment where a dizzying array of news outlets compete for their attention and sometimes presenting very different narratives about the same story. I’ll be at the Greenwood library on Wednesday, Jan. 26 to talk to teens about facts, opinions, and how to read the news with a critical eye, plus answer questions and give some background on how journalists work. Registration is required; sign up online or call the library at 302-855-1242. Per library policy masks and social distancing are required.
Announcer's death comes as a shock for racing fans
David L. Brown of Laurel, who served as an announcer at local dirt tracks and in the past hosted a radio show called “Let’s Talk Racing with David Brown,” died Dec. 28 at age 64.
After a hiatus from announcing, Brown had recently signed on at Middleford Speedway west of Seaford. Greg Mitchell, the speedway’s owner, said Brown was probably one of the best announcers the area has ever had. “We’re really going to miss him and I don’t think there was anybody around that could do the job like he could,” Mitchell said.
Jamie Wilson, who handles publicity for Middleford Speedway, said he’d known Brown for years and convinced him to start announcing again at the speedway only last season. Brown had previously announced at tracks all over the area including Georgetown, Delmar and Bridgeport, New Jersey, Wilson said.
You could hear Brown’s passion for racing in his announcing, Wilson said. “He was an old-school announcer, he just had that magic to him.” Brown would always pick out a couple fans during the night and joke with them.
“He was truly loved by the racing community, and it’s just a huge loss,” Wilson said, saying it still didn’t seem real that Brown wouldn’t come walking through the door.
Brown’s obituary also noted his love of hunting. “In recent years, he has truly enjoyed organizing and hosting the Delaware Whitetail Open, and this year he was recognized with a tribute from the Delaware House of Representatives for his efforts in planning the event.”
Water main emergency leads to a long night for Bridgeville staff
Bridgeville’s water main break a few weeks back on Dec. 20 caused inconvenience for residents, and it also led to a very long day for construction workers and town staff. Emergencies like these often seem to be timed to happen in terrible weather and temps dipped into the 20s that night. In this case though, the issue wasn't cold weather but a contractor who accidentally caused serious damage to the water main on South Main Street, Town Manager Bethany DeBussy told the Bridgeville Commission at its meeting Monday. Complicating the situation, while they were trying to repair the damage a valve failed that should have let crews shut off water to the site. Crews ended up working overnight to fix the leak.
“It was very cold, very bitter conditions,” DeBussy said.
About 2 million gallons of water went into the neighboring field, she said, where a new stormwater pond got an unexpected test.
“That pond is functioning,” she reported.
Vincent continues his run as Sussex Council president
The Sussex County Council starts each year by electing a president and vice president. Longtime president Michael Vincent of District 1, which includes Bridgeville and Seaford, was reelected Tuesday by a 4-1 vote, with Council member Cindy Green voting no. Doug Hudson will replace John Rieley as vice president; the Council vote on that was unanimous. This will be Vincent’s 12th year as president, the county said.
More COVID precautions
Bridgeville has been offering both a virtual and limited in-person option for its meetings, but commissioners voted Monday to hold town meetings online only and close Town Hall for 60 days, after which time they will reevaluate the state of the pandemic. Staff will continue to work and answer phones, the town clarified on its website, and people can drop bill payments in a drop box at Town Hall, pay online or mail payments to Town Hall.
Greenwood, too, has moved to Zoom only meetings as COVID cases have shot up in the state.
Laurel Public Library announced it is suspending in-person programming for the rest of the month.
As of Thursday, the state was reporting 746 COVID hospitalizations with 77 of those critical. Last week there were 666 people hospitalized with 70 critical cases. The Division of Public Health reported earlier this week that 20 children were hospitalized with COVID at Nemours.
Help in a time of need
The Food Bank of Delaware is hosting another drive-thru food pantry in Sussex County on Monday, Jan. 24 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. The food bank can serve up to 1,200 households. 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.
There’s also an event Wednesday, Jan. 19 at Dover International Speedway.
Also, with winter weather in full swing, the Bridgeville Library is holding a coat giveaway for children from Saturday, Jan. 15 to Saturday, Jan. 22. Bring children by the library for a free coat from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday to Thursday, and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday. (The library is closed Monday for Martin Luther King Jr. Day.)
Another Delawarean charged in Capitol riot
Millsboro resident Nicholas Lattanzi has become the fourth Delawarean charged in the Jan. 6, 2021 riot at the U.S. Capitol, Delaware Online reported. Lattanzi faces trespassing and disorderly conduct charges after authorities said he admitted to entering the Capitol building during the riot. Others charged from Delaware or with roots in the state include Anthony Antonio, from Kent County, and Kevin and Hunter Seefried of Laurel.
Prime Hook photography contest announces popular vote winner
It's time for baseball (registration)
Under the belief that warm weather will happen again at some point, local Little Leagues will soon begin registration for the upcoming season.
Registration for Harrington Little League will be at the Moose Lodge in town on Saturday, Jan. 29 and Saturday, Feb. 5 from 9-11 a.m., and on Tuesday, Feb. 15 from 6-8 p.m. Cost is $95 for the first player and $75 for each additional sibling; league volunteers can get lower rates. Bring three proofs of address and the child’s original birth certificate.
Woodbridge Little League’s online registration is open now. The league will hold in-person registration at the Bridgeville library on two upcoming Wednesdays: Feb. 2 and 23 from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Magic show coming to the Milton Theatre
Two magicians are coming to Milton Theatre Jan. 15 for what they’re calling a humorous magic duel. Mark Phillips and Ryan Phillips (who are not related) will battle for the “golden wand,” determined by audience votes. The show is for ages 18 and older and attendees are encouraged to dress to impress.
“This show is full of seriously funny magic that will fool you,” the theater said in a press release. Get tickets here.
The Houston Volunteer Fire Company Ladies Auxiliary is holding an all-you-can-eat breakfast Sunday morning, Jan. 16, the fire company announced on its Facebook page. The menu is pancakes, French toast, sausage, bacon, scrapple (Hughes brand), eggs, chipped beef gravy, fried potatoes, coffee, juice and milk. Cost is $10 for adults, $6 for kids ages 6-10, and kids 5 and under eat free. The breakfast runs from 7:30 a.m. to 11 a.m.
Greenwood’s town election is Saturday from 1-7 p.m. Residents need to be registered voters with the town of Greenwood to participate. Three seats are open; candidates are incumbents Donald Torbert, Norman Reed and Willard Russell, and challengers are Anthony Massey, Michael Phillips, Lisa Workman and Lavonn Johnson. Learn more about the candidates here.
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