We kicked off the week with a story Monday about how a community advocate is making a difference in Coverdale Crossroads and beyond. Over the decades Evelyn Wilson has amassed a network of state agencies, leaders and businesses she can turn to when someone in Coverdale has a need, and has put those connections to work in her retirement years.
State police recently brought forward an old cold case, asking the public to reach out if they have any tips. The mysterious death of Matthew Henson in 2002 has still not been solved. We took a look at what is known about the case.
Another, similar mystery is an event that happened over the weekend. Police announced unknown people broke into a home east of Seaford and shot a resident, then set the building on fire.
In development news, we covered a major expansion in the city of Harrington, where a couple of housing projects are in the works on the east side of Route 13.
“I’m extremely excited for Harrington, and I think we’re in a wonderful position right now,” city planner Karen Brittingham said. On our Facebook page, some commenters seemed less excited.
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In other news
Route 16 will close west of Greenwood for more than a week from Nov. 2 to Nov. 12 for repairs on the bridge over the Nanticoke River (ie. that ditch near Royal Farms that you probably don’t pay much attention to. This is considered the headwaters of the Nanticoke). Those dates may change based on weather. Drivers will have to detour around the area, which does not have very convenient detour options. But DNREC assured people they’ll still be able to access Royal Farms.
Democracy by default
Milford recently canceled its Nov. 9 election for the third ward city council seat because only one person was running. Nirmala Samaroo will be sworn in Nov. 8. This saved everyone the trouble of having to show up for an election, but also put a person on council without a vote from anyone. Low participation in elections is an issue faced by many towns and local jurisdictions, an interesting trend given that the officials concerned vote on matters directly related to people’s lives.
Bridgeville student gets a seat on state Board of Education
Congrats to Bridgeville high-schooler Shelby Farris: The governor's office announced she will be the student representative on the Delaware Board of Education. Farris is a former Woodbridge student who now attends Positive Outcomes Charter. It’s a nonvoting role, but allows student input in the board’s discussions. There’s also a nonvoting teacher position. These seats were added to the board in 2018.
“Shelby brings a unique perspective from her experiences in traditional district and charter schools,” Gov. John Carney said in a statement.
The student perspective, board president Whitney Sweeney said, “is increasingly important as students return to classrooms after hybrid/remote learning.”
Farris has started groups including HeartArt, which aims to “help people turn their creativity into compassion” via craft projects or cards; and Students for Education Equity in the U.S., which aims to help students find ways to make change in their schools.
Rules on food trucks (and fire)
At its most recent council meeting, the town of Greenwood officially enacted new rules for food trucks and ice cream trucks. Individual food trucks are only allowed to operate in town three days a month, and rules will stipulate where they can be parked and when (not overnight, not within 50 feet of a restaurant, and not on town property without permission, among other things). They owe a $25 permit fee and must get a business license. The regulations for ice cream trucks are similar, and include the language limiting them to three days in a given month. Violators face a $150 to $500 fine.
The town also introduced an update to its burning ordinance, which currently bans burning in town without a permit except for food preparation like outdoor fireplaces or grills. The new proposed ordinance would both relax and tighten the rules. It prohibits, without offering an option for a permit, all burning of waste, garbage, leaves, grass clippings, waste lumber. Notably, it also bans wood burning boilers for home heating. On the other hand, it also specifically allows some burning that wasn’t mentioned before, including small campfires or fire rings, outdoor fireplaces that aren’t operated for more than six hours continually, and woodstoves. Groups like schools and churches could get permission for bonfires if they notified the town and fire department in advance. Under the current rules, interestingly, violators could theoretically be jailed up to 10 days for a first offense or fined $25-$50. The new ordinance does away with the jail time option, but increases fines to up to $500 for the first offense.
Deer are dangerous
It’s the time of year when insurance companies and state agencies start sending out reminders to the uninitiated that deer breeding season begins soon. This might seem like a strange thing to remind people of, but of course when deer get in a sexual frenzy they lose sight of important considerations like not crossing the road directly in front of your car. The Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control points out that the average deer weighs 130 pounds, which falls firmly in the category of objects you really don’t want coming through your windshield. The department says to especially watch out after the Nov. 7 “fall back” of an hour in time, presumably not because deer watch clocks, but because people do and it gets dark earlier when traffic is heavier. Of course, if you’re driving in southern Delaware at any time of year, especially after dark, it behooves you to keep a sharp eye out for deer. From September to February 2021, there were 1,004 reported crashes with deer in Delaware, DNREC said.
Bad year for a rare bird
Beach-nesting piping plovers, which are listed as endangered in Delaware and threatened nationally, set a modern record for breeding pairs at 24 this year at Cape Henlopen and Fowler Beach, according to DNREC. Unfortunately, they only produced 19 fledglings, as compared to last year when there were 47. The goal is an average of 1.5 fledglings per pair, but this year it was only 0.8. The plovers had topped the recovery goal for three years before this season. The state blamed “nest loss from a Memorial Day storm and higher-than-average predation at Fowler Beach.”
The Woodbridge High School Marine Corps Junior Reserve Officer Training Corp is putting on a Halloween 5K/run/walk with post-race festivities on Saturday, Oct. 23. The event benefits the MCJROTC and the Greenwood Police Department.
Also, here are trick or treat times for area towns and cities.
The 31st annual Sea Witch Festival is Oct. 29-31 in Rehoboth Beach. The event draws an estimated tens of thousands of visitors as the area moves into what used to be considered the offseason.
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, from 10 a.m. to noon and 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. There will also be a clinic Friday at the Nylon Plaza Shopping Center on Atlanta Road from 10:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Call 302-629-9173 with questions.