Here's a look at news and events from around southern Delaware this week.
Natural gas facility near Bridgeville school comes up for another public hearing soon
As reported earlier, the Sussex County Council will have the final say on the expansion of a natural gas facility near Phillis Wheatley Elementary School in Bridgeville. The public hearing on that issue will happen in the afternoon portion of the Council’s Tuesday, March 22 meeting in Georgetown.
Jimmie Allen’s music festival is coming back to Milton
Milton’s own country music star Jimmie Allen will bring his Bettie James Festival back to Hudson Fields in Milton this summer.
Allen announced on Twitter that the date is Saturday, Aug. 13. The lineup and ticket details have yet to be released.
The festival, which honors his late grandmother Bettie Snead and late father James Allen, debuted last summer and sold out.
The festival is being billed as the final scene of the singer’s Down Home Tour Part 1, which leaves open the question of what exactly Part 2 will be. Right now, the last date of his tour is listed as Aug. 25 in Mill Spring, North Carolina.
Allen has been busy lately, including hosting the Academy of Country Music Awards with Dolly Parton and Gabby Barrett.
Rehoboth property owner seeks taller fence
The Sussex County Board of Adjustment may get more interest than usual at one of its upcoming meetings, as part time Rehoboth Beach resident Jill Biden has asked for a variance from the maximum fence height as specified in county code.
It’s possible that this will be more politically charged than other local discussions about fences. Biden, as you may be aware, is married to the president of the United States. (The president, currently dealing with issues like the war in Ukraine, has made no public statement about the height of their fence.)
The board plans to consider the issue at its April 4 meeting.
The Cape Gazette reported back in October about plans to install a $455,000 fence around the property for greater security.
Trace Adkins added to state fair lineup
The Delaware State Fair wrapped up its concert lineup with the announcement of country singer Trace Adkins this week. He’ll perform July 25. Other performers include Sam Hunt (July 21), Nelly (July 23), TobyMac (July 26) ZZ Top (July 27) and Hank Williams Jr., a singer who is related to Hank Williams (July 30). Get more info and tickets here.
Teamsters union is out at Mountaire after lopsided vote
Employees at Mountaire’s Selbyville plant who were part of the Teamsters Union Local 355 have voted 140-29 to decertify the union, Mountaire said in a press release.
The company celebrated the move.
“For the first time since 1977, our Selbyville plant is union free and it was our hourly employees who made that happen,” Phillip Plylar, president of Mountaire Farms, said in a statement. “We could not be prouder of our team there who put our employees first every day.”
The company said the unions are a legacy from the plant when Mountaire bought it in 1977, and it was the only Mountaire plant with unions.
The National Labor Relations Board will need to certify the election results.
The town of Bridgeville has appointed its redistricting committee, which consists of Tim Banks (District 1), Jim Carlucci (2), Pat Correll (3), Roger Hovermale (4) and Jim Arrington (5). The committee will make recommendations to the Commission on the best way to slice up the town’s voting districts, in consultation with the University of Delaware’s John Laznik. Meetings will be open to the public, although the town has not yet announced meeting dates.
Three sitting commissioners, Bruce Smith, Marlene Saunders and Thomas Moran, were sworn in for new terms at the last town meeting. They were unopposed, so the town canceled the scheduled election.
Also at that meeting, Police Chief Burke Parker confirmed that the police vehicle struck by a passing vehicle in January was totaled. Complicating things is that supply issues make replacing it difficult. Town Manager Bethany DeBussy said there’s a severe vehicle shortage right now. Parker said he ordered a vehicle last June and still hasn’t gotten it. “We’re getting by,” he said.
Outdoor expo in Harrington
The fifth Delmarva Outdoors Expo is scheduled for April 29-May 1 at the state fairgrounds in Harrington. It will feature food trucks, vendors offering gear for hunting, fishing and other outdoor pursuits, demonstrations and more. There will also be a Delmarva Dockdogs competition, which features dogs competing in categories like retrieving in water and jumping. Tickets are $5 for a day, $10 for the weekend, and kids 12 and under get in free.
Police investigating after man’s body found near burning vehicle
A Delaware State Police homicide unit investigated after troopers found a body near a burning vehicle near Seaford on Wednesday, but police announced Thursday night that "there was no sign of foul play."
Police said officers responded to a report of a vehicle fire in the 10000 block of Airport Road south of Seaford, and found the vehicle “fully engulfed in flames.” Nearby in a ditch they found the body of a 54-year-old man from Seaford. Police said due to the sensitivity of the case, no further information will be provided.
The Division of Forensic Science will do an autopsy.
Fatal crash started when truck hit a deer, police say
State police say a 53-year-old Salisbury woman died in a crash late Tuesday near Millsboro after a head-on collision with an SUV.
Police said a Millsboro woman, 26, was driving the SUV on Route 24 just west of Revel Road around 11:21 p.m. Tuesday when she hit a deer, then crossed the center line and collided head-on with the Salisbury woman’s car. The collision sent the car into a nearby field.
The Millsboro woman was not wearing a seat belt, but was taken to the hospital with minor injuries, police said. The Salisbury woman was wearing a seat belt, but was pronounced dead at the scene. She has not been identified pending notification of family.
The road was closed for about four hours.
Ballet comes downstate
The Wilmington Ballet is bringing its “Nouveau” show to the Milton Theatre on Sunday, April 3, describing it as “an eclectic visual feast of engaging new works.” Tickets are $25.
Public hearing in Greenwood
If you have an opinion about self-storage units and the location thereof, you should know that Greenwood’s Planning Commission is holding a public hearing on the matter Wednesday, March 30 at 6:30 at the town hall. A proposed amendment to town code would allow public storage facilities in the highway commercial district, and remove them from falling under conditional use in the downtown commercial district.
A new event debuts this year on Saturday, June 18 at Hudson Fields in Milton. The Strawberry and Sangria Festival will feature fresh strawberries, strawberry desserts, sangria and other cocktails, along with a farmers market, food trucks, artisans and children’s activities.
The event runs from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., and proceeds benefit Grass Roots Rescue.
Reader mail: Buffer ordinance needed
With wider buffer width, Terrapin Island and Scenic Manor would have never been approved with as many homes as they proposed. Stillwater Harbor, which is now proposed in the notoriously flood-prone area of Oak Orchard next to tidal wetlands, would have never even been considered.
Homes will be built up and new roads will be elevated causing more flooding in the surrounding areas and older homes.
The cutting down of mature trees and impervious paving will of course have an adverse impact, too.
These will all be talked about for many years to come as the flooding in the areas becomes worse.
Val Wood, Millsboro
Dish of the week
By Edgar Diaz
Spaghetti pasta, an old childhood standby
When I was younger, "spaghetti" usually meant overcooked noodles with thin, store-bought spaghetti sauce poured over the top. Most of sauce would run off the pasta onto the plate.
We can do better. Whether you're using jarred sauce or homemade (no judgment here, the above was made with jarred sauce), the secret to better spaghetti is starchy pasta water, al dente pasta, and fat.
- Heat the tomato sauce separately.
- 2. Cook the pasta in just enough water to cover it, so you end up with white, cloudy, super starchy pasta water. The pasta should be cooked until just before al dente — usually 1-2 minutes less than what the box says.
- Transfer the mostly-cooked pasta to the sauce, and add a few tablespoons of the starchy pasta water. The added starch will help the sauce cling to the pasta, and also emulsify the fat we're adding in the next step.
- Add fat, usually a tablespoon of butter or olive oil. This will emulsify with the starchy pasta water and tomato sauce, leaving you with a rich, creamy sauce that clings to the pasta.
- Simmer and stir for a couple minutes to bring everything together and finish cooking the pasta. If needed, you can add more starchy pasta water during this step to adjust consistency.
Garnish with cheese and herbs, and serve immediately.