This week: Governor drops in at Miller Metal, tension in Delmar and more

This week: Governor drops in at Miller Metal, tension in Delmar and more
Gov. John Carney speaks at Miller Metal Fabrication near Bridgeville on Monday. The manufacturing company hosted an event celebrating its planned expansion.

In a downstate visit this week, Delaware's governor stopped by a Bridgeville manufacturer. Miller Metal Fabrication plans a $7 million expansion and has been awarded some state money toward that plan.

“I can’t think of a more important economic development project that we’ve done in my tenure as governor,” Gov. John Carney said Monday.

“I’m convinced as a country if we’re going to be successful, we’ve got to make things here in the United States of America like we have for generations,” Carney said. “And that’s why I was so excited when I first visited this place to see the incredible work that all of you do here, the incredible vision of (founder Marty Miller). We talked a lot at that time about the prospects for expanding this plant, and that’s why we’re here today. And I just couldn’t be more excited.”

Read more of that story below.

More automation combines with more jobs at one Sussex manufacturer
The robots are not trying to take over the world or put people on welfare, at least at one Bridgeville-area manufacturing plant. At Miller Metal Fabrication it’s an amicable partnership, with automated lasers and humans working in tandem over the past couple of decades to expand business and add

Tony Russo keeps an eye on the news for us in the southern part of Sussex County. Here's his latest report on the progress of negotiations for a police union in Delmar, and on the anger and frustration at town meetings.

Deal may be close for Delmar police union as anger simmers
Jessie McCoy’s voice rose and fell, sometimes cracking with emotion as he exhorted the assembled to rejoin his “Amen!” The Salisbury native who has taken up residence in Delmar began by saying he wasn’t a politician but rather a man of the people. “I’m looking at all

Back up at the top of the county, a Greenwood bar that's been burned out since May is going away. Demolition commenced in recent days months after the town initially ordered the building knocked down, and there's a whole saga tied up in that story.

Update: New things ahead at site of burned bar
The building that housed a bar in Greenwood for many decades, and more recently stood out as a charred wreck disfiguring West Market Street, has been sold. The new owners reached settlement earlier this week on the property where the remains of the Pit Stop stand, and demolition was set

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In other news

Rabies warning

Animals with rabies keep turning up in southern Delaware, especially in the Greenwood area where a rabid fox bit someone in September. On Oct. 15, the Division of Public Health again sent out a warning after a skunk in Greenwood attacked a stray cat. The cat escaped and was later found dead; the skunk tested positive for rabies.

That said, it’s not as if the DPH is turning up positive rabies tests every week. Since January, it has tested 171 animals, 17 of which were confirmed to be rabid. That’s a fairly small number, although it’s a spike over last year, when the division tested 121 animals all year and only four were confirmed rabies cases (two more tested positive for rabies out of state, but came from Delaware).  

The rabid animals confirmed so far this year include one dog, two raccoons, two skunks (including the aforementioned Greenwood one), the fox that bit the person, three cats, six bats, one cow and very unusually, a deer.

Of course, some animals may be rabid but not make the list of statistics. Around the same time the DPH released its skunk warning, another skunk showed up at the offices of The Delaware Independent (i.e. my house) acting very strangely. It’s a long story but the essence is that the skunk met an unfortunate end, but not before leaving an extremely potent bit of its own essence in the back yard, and the dog had to get a rabies booster just in case. We did not get the skunk tested for rabies, but think it was a likely suspect.

It must be admitted that getting a cellphone pic of a skunk behaving erratically falls in the Probably Not Smart category.

Find more information on the DPH rabies program here; or call 1-866-972-9705 or 302-744-4995.  

Why local news is disappearing, Part 3,218

The Atlantic keeps doing important, fascinating and infuriating pieces on the destruction of local news. Last week I mentioned their piece on what happens when Gannett comes to town (not good things) and now there’s this one about Alden Global Capital, which by comparison makes Gannett look (almost) like a philanthropic booster of journalism. The hedge fund, initially hailed as a possible savior of journalism when it started buying up newspapers, soon commenced not saving them at all. If you want to understand what is happening to newspapers, this is an important read. But if this article depresses you, take heart. I'm told subscribing to a local news outlet gives a much needed emotional boost in these kinds of situations.  

Preventing misunderstandings with police

A Greenwood-area nonprofit, Deaf Outreach Inc., is partnering with state organizations and law enforcement on a new communication card for those who are deaf or hard of hearing. The idea is to make people safer by preventing misunderstandings during interactions with law enforcement. The cards let officers know that the person has trouble hearing, and offer symbols the officer can indicate to let the person know why they were stopped, or if they need to show ID, among other options. The card has been featured in several recent media reports. The nonprofit is now planning training videos and exploring the possibility of making communication cards for EMT and other first aid providers. Gail Garner, a resident of the Greenwood area, is the steering committee chair and a driving force behind the nonprofit. Find more information on Deaf Outreach's website.

Volunteers needed for homeless shelters

As the weather cools down, Code Purple, a Delaware organization fighting homelessness, is looking for emergency homeless shelter volunteers. Emergency winter sanctuaries are open nightly from Dec. 15 to March 15, and the organization said it has a need for more than 100 volunteers to provide basic coverage during the season. Volunteers would help with intake, overnight work, morning relief, cleanup and laundry. Code Purple is offering several upcoming training events for volunteers in Sussex County:

  • Nov. 4: Milford Ave UMC, 20 N Church Ave, Milford
  • Nov. 9: The CROSS, 703 East King Street, Seaford
  • Nov. 16: Milford Nazarene, 11 Salevan PL, Milford

Find out more at

Open houses

The Greenwood Volunteer Fire Company is holding an open house Monday, Oct. 25, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the fire house at 12611 Fire Hall Ave., Greenwood. The event will feature fire prevention tours and a vehicle rescue demonstration, and members will answer questions about recruitment.

Also, a historic house near Greenwood is open for tours on Saturday, Oct. 23. The Bender House dates back to the early days of the Mennonite community in the area. It was purchased by Valentine Bender in 1914 around the time of the founding of the Greenwood Mennonite Church, and was relocated to its current site in the 1990s and restored. The Delaware Mennonite Historical Society is hosting an open house at the building off 12152 Benner Lane on Saturday from 5 to 7 p.m. In addition to checking out the house, you can bring a chair to relax in the woods and enjoy games and a bonfire with hot dogs (or non-meat option) and drinks.

End of the season in Seaford

Seaford’s last Friday Night Live of the year is this week, featuring Charlie and the Cool Tones. They're a local group with a broad repertoire including blues, rock, funk, country and jazz. Friday Night Live runs from 5 to 8 p.m. and features entertainment, adult beverages and food trucks.

Also in Seaford

The city of Seaford and the Delaware Division of Public Health are partnering to offer a free COVID-19 vaccination clinic at the Spring Street parking lot across from Seaford City Hall on Thursday, Oct. 28. The event runs from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. People can get Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines, and booster doses will also be eligible to those who qualify. Flu shots will be available too. Those eligible for a second dose or booster shot should bring their vaccination cards. Call 302-629-9173 with questions; and find out more about the vaccine on the state's website.

Even more in Seaford

The Nanticoke River Watershed Conservancy is planning a community cleanup day Oct. 23 at Chapel Branch nature trail off Woodland Ferry Road starting around 8 a.m. Volunteers will help with weeding, highway cleanup, sign installation and more. Sign up via this Google doc.


The Woodbridge High School MCJROTC (Marine Corps Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps) is putting on a Halloween 5K/run/walk with post-race festivities on Saturday, Oct. 23. Registration starts at 8 a.m. at the Bridgeville Library, and the run/walk starts at 9. The cost is $20 for advance registrations until Oct. 23, and $25 afterward. The event benefits the MCJROTC and the Greenwood Police Department.  

The Riverfront Theatre in Milford will feature the 1956 movie “The Mole People” Friday and Saturday, Oct. 22-23, as part of the show “Mr. Moribund’s Theatre of Terror.” The show is modeled after classic horror host television programs of the 1950s through today.