Senator visits Harrington rail project site; other local news
Here's a look at news and events from around southern Delaware this week.
As Harrington’s rail project moves forward, Sen. Tom Carper pays a visit
The plan to build a business park with direct railroad access in Harrington, bringing new business and hundreds of new jobs to the city, is moving from idea toward reality. The partnership involved has secured $1 million in grant money to begin work.
Sen. Tom Carper visited the site Tuesday along with representatives from the offices of Sen. Chris Coons and Rep Lisa Blunt Rochester. Also in attendance were state elected leaders, industry partners and town officials. It was a sharply chilly spring day, but the wind carried hints of sun-warmed air and better weather ahead.
Officials, too, emphasized good things to come. Carper highlighted his longtime focus on economic development, and said, “The best way you can help someone: Make sure they have a job.”
Those involved have calculated the project could bring 700 jobs at a minimum to the city.
The cost of the entire project was estimated last year at about $20 million, although construction costs have risen since then. The plan is to develop about 131 acres, owned by the city and local businesses, along a rail line on the east side of the city in partnership with railroad companies to add more rail access to the site. Businesses with shipping needs will be able to set up shop nearby in the business park.
The $1 million in grants will be matched by $1 million in construction on site from Northeast Freight Transfer, which operates rail terminals. Harrington City Planner Jeremy Rothwell noted this is a drop in the bucket for what will be needed, but it allows the project to get started. The first stage will be to divide the land into lots and determine where the roads will be, work that will get underway this year, he said. Then the city can begin installing infrastructure like the roads, water and sewer lines.
Rothwell said a rail and business hub with this capacity would be unique on Delmarva.
Baron Emery, the director of operations for Carload Express, which owns Delmarva Central Railroad, said Harrington is their hub and his office is in the old train station in the city.
“We see this location as absolutely perfect, centered on the peninsula,” he said.
Bridgeville-based O.A. Newton, which already has a building at the site of the planned business park, plans to kick things off with a new facility, owner Rob Rider said.
“This is a prime example of Delaware coming together to make something that’s going to be beneficial for the entire state,” Harrington Mayor Duane Bivans said.
“We’re going to make this happen,” Carper said.
Jimmie Allen will perform in Dover at the Monster Mile
Country music star and proud Delawarean Jimmie Allen will take a detour from his Down Home tour to perform at the Monster Mile in Dover on Sunday, May 1.
The concert begins at 12:45 p.m., the Dover Motor Speedway announced, and then there's a NASCAR race of some kind afterward. Buying race tickets is how you get into the concert.
"We are so excited to have Jimmie come home to provide all of us such great entertainment. He is an outstanding individual as well as a performer and we’re so happy he is coming,” Mike Tatoian, president and general manager of Dover Motor Speedway, said in a statement.
You may be able to get your money back for internet installation
Delaware’s announcement that it would use federal money to install high speed internet lines to reach every home in the state came as great news to the many people downstate who have been stuck with phone hotspots, satellite internet or using the parking lot of a business with wi-fi.
Well, it was great news to some of them. Others had already broken down and paid the tens of thousands of dollars needed to install lines to their homes, only to find that the state was going to do it for free anyway.
In an update on the project hosted last week by state Sen. Brian Pettyjohn, state officials said those who have recently paid for internet extension may be able to get a refund.
“We know that there was this kind of shift (in the) timing of when we did the awards versus (the companies’) current business processes and practices,” Chris Cohan of the Department of Technology and Information said. “... I can say that we’ve had some recent projects where a constituent has paid for it, we were able to get the vendor to refund those money, and then (get) the actual construction covered under the grant.”
In a later email, Chief Information Officer Jason Clarke said they requested information from internet companies on any projects where a customer was required to pay to extend wired access. Projects beginning March 3, 2021 or later may be eligible for a refund. People can email email@example.com with questions.
Police investigate wayward turkey
A report of breaking and entering at the Villages of Five Points in Lewes on Monday turned out to be technically true, but there was no crime and it’s not exactly clear what the intruder was after.
When Delaware State Police responded to the scene they found a wild turkey in the home.
Police asked for help from DNREC, but soon canceled the request, saying in an update that they “have the turkey under control,” the Shore News Beacon reported.
Cpl. Leonard DeMalto, a state police spokesperson, said in an email that police were called because of a suspicious broken window. DeMalto said officers were able to cover the turkey with a blanket and take it outside, where it fled on wing.
In messages with the Shore News Beacon, the condo owner speculated that alarm testing at the building may have startled the turkey into flying through the window.
Take a trip to Houston for a music festival
“Delaware’s best outdoor concert” is coming up sooner than you think. I refer, of course, to June Jam in Houston. Yes, another festival in Dover may try to steal headlines, but June Jam has been around for 44 years and apparently got the slogan first.
The event is Saturday, June 11 at the 38-acre G&R Campground on Gun and Rod Club Road east of Harrington. Performers this year include Triple Rail Turn, JJ Rupp, Joey Fulkerson Band, 440 Band and Storm Over Seattle. Limited on-site camping is available.
Get tickets and find more information here.
Harrington considers rate increases
Harrington City Council is weighing an increase in property taxes and other fees. Finance Director Amanda Marlow said the city hasn’t had an increase in property taxes in years, and with costs like fuel going up, this move will raise an additional $32,000 a year.
Residential and commercial properties are actually taxed the same at this point. The new ordinance would split them, keeping the rates the same for residential property and raising them 10 cents per $100,000 for commercial property, to $1.16. Residential rates will stay the same.
Rental licenses would increase from $100 to $125. The city would also add a reinspection fee of $25. Marlow said currently if a property fails inspection and the code enforcement officer has to visit again, there’s no additional fee.
The Council will hold a public hearing on the matter at a future meeting.
Volunteers needed for Little League prep
Nanticoke Little League is asking for volunteers to help spruce up Williams Pond Park before the April 30 opening day. The cleanup will happen Saturday, April 23 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Volunteers are asked to bring rakes, gloves, leaf bags, and pruning tools if they have them.
State park asks for volunteers too
Trap Pond State Park is putting out a call for volunteers on Saturday, April 30, to help mulch the playgrounds around the park. If you want to help, meet at the campground pavilion at 10 a.m. The work will go until noon. Those with mulching equipment like wheelbarrows, pitchforks, shovels and rakes are encouraged to bring them along. Find more information here.
Shop local vendors on Saturday
Wilderlove Handmade and Vintage in Greenwood is holding an outdoor spring market in the parking lot on Saturday, April 23 from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. The shop is on East Market Street next to the post office.
Road work ahead
Road work will close part of Middleford Road between Old Furnace Road and Tharp Road in Seaford overnight on Tuesday, the Department of Transportation said. The closure will be from 7 p.m. until 6 a.m. Wednesday, depending on the weather. They’re adding a surface treatment to give vehicles better traction on curves when the road is wet.
On Monday, part of Woodland Ferry Road in Laurel near Penn Street will be closed for maintenance on the Delmarva Central Railroad crossing, starting at 5 a.m. and wrapping up by Thursday at 5 p.m. if all goes well.
The railroad will also be doing maintenance on its crossing on Sussex Pines Road in Georgetown, between Wood Branch Road and Fairway Avenue. That work will close the road from 5 a.m. Tuesday to 5 p.m. Friday.
Meet state police at a community cafe event in Bridgeville
Delaware State Police Troop 5 is holding a community cafe (like coffee with a cop, but they’re not calling it that) at T.S. Smith Orchard Point Market on Tuesday at 9 a.m. Troop 5 is the one located near Food Lion in Bridgeville. Officers will meet and interact with the public, in an effort to build a stronger community relationship.
Learn more about Georgetown candidates
Voters can meet the candidates for Georgetown Council at an event at the Marvel Museum on May 3 at 6 p.m.
The election will be held Saturday, May 14. The Council seats are for the third and fourth wards, held by Angela Townsend and Penuel Barret. They are running unopposed.
The incumbent mayor is Bill West. His challenger this year is Ruth Ann Spicer, whose son Chad Spicer was a Georgetown police officer killed in the line of duty in 2009. West has served as mayor since 2014.
Those interested in voting need to register before May 11 with the county Department of Elections.
Dish of the week
By Edgar Diaz
Oblique-cut multicolor carrots
Oblique cuts, also called roll cuts, are great when you want a larger surface area for glazing, for reducing cooking time, or to add visual appeal to your dish.
To do it, cut the carrot at a 45-degree angle. Roll the carrot a quarter turn toward you, and cut again at the same 45 degree angle. Continue rolling 1/4 turn, and cutting at 45 degrees, until done.
These carrots were later cooked using a sous vide glazed carrots technique. However, I should have split the purple carrots into a separate bag, because they ended up coloring everything else purple as they cooked. Better luck next time.
Follow Edgar Diaz on Instagram @diptoe