This week: Political boundaries in Sussex, election in Greenwood and more

This week: Political boundaries in Sussex, election in Greenwood and more
The Harrington Library, which may soon be replaced by a much larger building. 

News of the week

Now that the redistricting process is over, we asked a few questions about what it means for southern Delaware: What changed in local political districts? Was it a fair process? And is there a better way to do all this? Paying subscribers can read more about that below.

How redistricting went in southern Delaware (and could it be improved?)
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Why we’re starting a paywall, and what you should know about it
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In other news, the Harrington Library could get a major expansion in the next few years: A new and much larger $10 million building and more staff. It's been a long and drawn out effort to bring a new library to town that has previously come up short.

Will this time be the charm for a new Harrington Library?
The Harrington Library could get a major expansion in the next few years: A new and much larger building, more books and more staff. It’s a project that could cost more than $10 million. The effort has been in the works for years but has faced delays, library Director Marleena

Also in Harrington, a Council member made a surprise announcement at the recent city meeting.

Harrington Council member stepping down to go sailing
Harrington City Council member Joe Gannon is going away to sea. Gannon told the council Tuesday night that his ship had come in, and loosely keeping to a water-connected theme, said this meeting would be his swan song: He’ll be stepping down from his District 1 seat. I called Gannon

This week, Delmar held its election, and voters swept the sitting mayor out of office and installed a group of candidates running as a slate that will give them control of the Commission.

New leadership takes over in Delmar
Incumbent Mayor Karen Wells is out after Tuesday’s election in Delmar, Maryland, defeated by challenger Benjamin Jorden 126-76. Jorden was part of a slate of candidates running together and planning to cooperate on priorities in the town. Jacob Boothe and Corey Shaffer, his informal running mates,…

In other news:

Changes coming to Sussex County Council districts  

Now that the state is done dividing up House and Senate districts for the next 10 years, the same process is getting underway in Sussex County and it could lead to some interesting changes.

The current district setup includes one, District 5, represented by Council Vice President John Rieley, that stretches all the way across the bottom of the state. That means residents of Delmar and some beach areas like South Bethany, two fairly distinct communities, find themselves in the same district. It remains to be seen if the new districts will substantially change that setup.  

"This is, quite literally, shaping our community's future, at least for the next 10 years, so I encourage residents to get involved," Sussex Council President Michael Vincent said in a news release announcing the project.

Sussex County grew quite a bit in the past decade, increasing by about 40,000 residents per new census data (around 20 percent). All five Council districts need to have roughly the same population, so depending on where the newcomers are the lines will need to shift a bit. That could change things in the beach area of eastern Sussex that have seen heavy development.

The county attorney will lead the redistricting effort and Council will consider proposed districts at a public hearing in coming weeks. The goal is to wrap up by early 2022.

Those who want to suggest district lines can email, or send a letter to Clerk of the Sussex County Council, P.O. box 589, Georgetown, DE 19947. The deadline is Dec. 1.

Southern Delaware splendor

The moon over a marsh near Lewes. Photo by Taylor Goebel

Greenwood will elect 3 new council members

More than half of Greenwood's council seats are coming up for a vote. The town announced its upcoming election will be held 1-7 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 15, 2022. The deadline for candidates to file is 5 p.m. Friday, Dec. 10, so the town hasn't released a list of candidates yet. The seats up for election are held by Norman Reed, Donald Torbert and Vice Mayor Willard Russell.

An important note is that state voter registration is not relevant to the Greenwood election. Residents who want to vote have to register separately with the town. A form is available on the town website, and residents need to bring the form to Town Hall along with proof of age, town residency for at least 30 days, and U.S. citizenship. The deadline to register for the upcoming election is Dec. 15.

Environmental group sues Sussex in a fight over the destiny of chicken feces

Food and Water Watch has escalated its fight with Sussex County Council after the planning and zoning commission declined to revoke its approval of a facility to produce biogas from chicken manure near Georgetown. The group argues that the commission ignored county law by finding that CleanBay Renewables had made substantial enough progress on its site work to avoid restarting the permitting process.

"The County has not seen the lawsuit, but does not comment on matters of litigation," county spokesman Chip Guy said in an email on Monday after the group announced the lawsuit.  

If you want more detail on this case, Maddy Lauria reported on it for us in September.

Environmental groups challenge Sussex decision on biogas permit
Environmental advocates are challenging Sussex County officials over a new business they say has not done enough work on its project to meet permit requirements. In 2018, Sussex County officials approved CleanBay Renewables’ plan to build a biogas facility in Georgetown, where the company plans to c…

Man critically hurt in Georgetown fire

A Monday night fire near Georgetown left a 37-year-old man badly hurt, the state fire marshal's office said. Delaware Online's Shannon McNaught reported that it happened in a woods at the end of Douglas Street, in the area of a "substantial homeless encampment."

The Georgetown Fire Company and Sussex paramedics were dispatched for a "vegetation fire involving an injury," which was reported shortly after 8:30 p.m., the fire marshal's office said. The badly burned victim was found in the woods, and a nearby campsite was also on fire. The victim was taken to a burn center in Pennsylvania and listed as being in critical condition, the news release said. As of Thursday, the man was still in critical condition, according to a spokesman for the fire marshal's office. Fire officials are investigating the incident.

Fire police captain's recovery continues after crash

Ken Tull, the 83-year-old fire police captain who was hit by a vehicle at the end of October while working at an accident scene, has been released from the hospital to a rehab center in Dover, the Seaford Volunteer Fire Department said in a Facebook post. Firefighters were on hand to welcome him. The department said Tull is in great spirits, but asks for no visitors, calls or texts until he gets stronger.

State police arrested a Bridgeville man driving the SUV that struck Tull, who was wearing a high-visibility traffic vest, police said. The man was charged with driving under the influence, among other offenses.

Hear the Peanuts Christmas soundtrack live

The jazz sounds of "A Charlie Brown Christmas," which officially launch the Christmas season at whatever time of the year they are played, are coming to the Milton Theatre on Dec. 2. The Cartoon Christmas Trio plays every song from the animated special, as well as songs from other Christmas movies like "Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer" and "The Grinch Who Stole Christmas." Get tickets at or call 302-684-3038.

Greenwood's Christmas parade draws a long list of entries

Apparently there was pent up demand for a Christmas parade in Greenwood. If the town's information is correct, this would be the first such parade since 1969, and Town Manager Janet Todd said there are more than 100 entries. There's still time to get on the bandwagon for the Dec. 10 event, as the deadline to register is Nov. 24. Would-be paraders can fill out the form and return it to Town Hall.

Less Christmasy Greenwood news

Greenwood is going digital with its utility payments. Town residents can now pay their bills online, see past payments and usage, autopay and get bills by email, the town announced.

Pupuseria reopening soon

Popular Salvadoran restaurant Doña Maria's Pupuseria at 117 High Street in Seaford shut down this week for repairs, per the business's Facebook page, but hopes to reopen next week.

"We have been open for 4 years now and our owners think its time for a little freshening up. We will be getting new light fixtures, fresh paint, a new accent wall and a whole lotta love!" the post read.