St. George’s celebrates 200 years of service
St. George’s United Methodist Church in Clarksville has served southeastern Sussex County for 200 years — a milestone that will be celebrated on Sunday, Oct. 22, with a special service and meal, attended by members, former pastors and United Methodist Church officials.
When St. George’s was established in 1816, the church was served by circuit riders — pastors who covered a certain territory and would preach in each church every few weeks.
“We Methodists love to talk about the circuit riders,” said St. George’s pastor the Rev. Dr. Robert Kirby. “Since there were not enough clergy to go around, the laity would conduct worship services in many of our early churches until a pastor would come through.”
If a circuit rider was not available, church members directed their own meetings, which by 1816 were being held in an “old house, just 16 feet by 18 feet,” according to a church history compiled by church member Doris Collins.
Imagine live music in a peaceful park setting, just as the sun sets over Indian River Bay. That’s exactly what organizers envision at three different family fun nights in Holts Landing State Park this summer.
It’s here! The unofficial start of the summer season at the Delaware shore has arrived with Memorial Day weekend, and it’s a time of transition for the area, as the relatively quiet second season of spring sprouts into the hustle and bustle that is the resort area’s high season.
To accommodate the holiday traffic, major road projects in the area have been put on hold from Thursday, May 26, to Monday, May 30. After that, lane closures will be prohibited on Route 26 and Route 113 during peak daytime hours.
A new traffic signal was set to be activated at the intersection of Route 26 and Powell Farm Road in Clarksville this week. The new signal was set to begin operation in flashing mode on Thursday, May 19. The signal is set to get the green light to begin a regular stop-and-go operation on Monday, May 23, pending weather.
Signs are posted to inform drivers of the new traffic pattern.
Road construction will partially close the traffic intersection at Route 26/Omar Road/Powell Farm Road, at St. George’s United Methodist Church in Clarksville, for three weeks, starting on Monday.
As part of the State Route 26 Mainline Improvement Project, a new traffic signal and intersection must be installed there, with a diagonal closure across the intersection during the work. Route 26 itself will be unimpeded from Atlantic Avenue to Vines Creek Road. Similarly, Omar Road and Powell Farm Road will still be connected. But Route 26 traffic cannot access Powell Farm or Omar roads during the closure.
Pending weather, the closure will last from Monday, April 25, until Friday, May 13.
The Department of Transportation (DelDOT) suggests a detour route from Powell Farm Road to Burbage Road to Route 17 and back to Route 26. Signs will be posted.
The Roxana Volunteer Fire Company announced that they are hosting a live-fire drill on Saturday, March 19, between the hours of 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. at the now-vacant Twin Cedars Apartments, located at 36112 Zion Church Road near Frankford.
This drill has been in the making for at least 5 years and has taken countless hours of coordination between the departments, owner and government agencies.
It’s time to bundle up, grab some hot chocolate and prepare those Christmas lists, and local towns will welcome the holiday season with the annual Christmas parades.
Delaware Department of Transportation (DelDOT) officials announced around 4:30 p.m. that, due to high water, Route 1 northbound and southbound was being closed between Bethany and Dewey Beach (including the Charles Cullen Bridge over the Indian River Inlet).
There’s been a change in scenery along Route 26 in Clarksville in recent weeks, with Hocker’s Super Center’s revamped billboard at the corner of Routes 26 and 17.
Hocker said the digital billboard received approval on the county, state and federal levels prior to its installation.
“It has been a four-year process. I went through every proper channel I needed to go through to get 100 percent approved,” said Gerry Hocker. “I first started with the County, and got approval from the County. Then I had to get approval from the State. There were a lot of meetings. It took a lot of time.
“I went through every proper channel… Looking back now, I don’t know how I did it… other than determination, perseverance and respect.”
The billboard, which was upgraded in August, is a state-of-the-art, double-sided digital billboard, with each side measuring 300 square feet, and is available for rental by interested parties or advertisers.
G&E Supermarket and Hocker’s Super Center have been Hocker-family-owned and -operated businesses for more than 50 years. Along with its deli, supercenter, gas station and convenience store, Hocker’s also offers catering services.
Last month, Hocker’s added a new food trailer to its Hocker’s BBQ fleet, continuing to expand their catering business.
“It’s just another avenue of our business where we like to diversify,” said Gerry Hocker. “The downturn of the economy kind of affected everybody. We were affected, as well, with our businesses. We looked into where we could diversify and what we could expand into, and avenues we could take that our competition couldn’t.”
“You have a lot of competition come in. You have to do things that your competition can’t, being that we’re locally owned,” added Greg Hocker. “We can branch out and do those other things that the other brand stores can’t do.”
Greg Hocker said the catering business and barbecue trailer started small but have continued to grow.
“People start asking about certain things that we had never even thought about making,” said Greg Hocker. “We started experimenting and making it, and now we can make pretty much just about anything anybody wants.”
After 25 years, a local shop might be considered retro. But Hudson’s General Store is all about the antique. Now, to celebrate 25 years in business, Hudson’s is bringing back its massive outdoor antique sale on Saturday, June 20.
Under the big tent in Clarksville, 30 to 40 dealers from across the East Coast will sell one-of-a-kind treasures from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
“People love antique shows, and I think the young people are starting to come back and want retro things,” said owner Melody Hudson.
And this is where people can dive in.
“They can find anything. They can find pewter, clocks, furniture — just about anything in the antique line,” Hudson said.
“[Antiques] are all different. They’re not mass produced,” Hudson said. “You never know what dealer’s gonna bring what.”
There’s excitement in finding the perfect piece or talking with vendors and other collectors.
Good Earth Market will hold its 8th Annual Arts & Crafts Festival on Saturday, May 30, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on the market’s grounds in Clarksville.
Plenty has happened around the community over the off-season. In case you’ve been out of town, or have just been too busy to stay on top of things, here are some of the items that could most affect your summer season.
Late-night work is getting a little later this summer on Route 26. The Delaware Department of Transportation was already scheduled to begin a second year of overnight work on the road construction project, from May 15 to Sept. 30, in a schedule designed to accommodate summer traffic.
The love of your life has just kneeled on one knee and asked for your hand in marriage… But now what?
Many dream of having a beach wedding, where the vastness of the sea mirrors their love for one and other, but the logistics of planning can be difficult.
Enter Delaware Seaside Bride. With a website — DelawareSeasideBride.com — and yearly print magazine that will launch March 6, 2015, Delaware Seaside Bride will be your guide to planning your dream day, surrounded by the beauty of the Delaware beaches.
Thanks to an outpouring of support from the community, the Millville Volunteer Fire Company has been able to raise enough funds to purchase three LUCAS Chest Compression Systems to be placed in the MVFC’s three ambulances.
EMT Michele Steffens, who also serves as the MVFC’s financial secretary, said the machines will help EMTs save valuable time during an emergency.
After just one month with two localized Route 26 road closures, business owners are really feeling the pressure. As their small businesses suffer from being located on temporary dead-ends, they voiced their concerns at a Feb. 10 Construction Advisory Group meeting, saying they feel the contractor doesn’t feel their sense of urgency.
Bright colors splash inside Millville’s newest children’s learning center, despite the deceptively stoic brick exterior. Village Square Academy Learning Center just opened on Whites Neck Road, enrolling infants to 12 years.
Village Square Academy provides daylong childcare, from 6:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m., or just before and after school.
“It’s not a daycare at all. It’s a learning center. It’s gonna be structured, educational,” said owner Tecola Gibbs-Hernandez. “The best start is an early start. The earlier, the better prepared they are when they get to the schools,” she said.
That means kids can get used to a structured environment, learn rules of the school and adapt to different cultures. Plus, kids are learning social skills.
“They learn through each other,” verbalizing what they want, using good manners and, of course, making friends, she said.
For the first time since he was elected state representative in 2000, state Sen. Gerald Hocker Sr. enjoyed his first election off. But he was back to work Wednesday morning, with a Nov. 5 “Coffee’s On Me” with constituents.
A familiar face has faded into memory after Dr. Thomas Jeffrey Dunn, 51, of Dagsboro passed away Tuesday, Sept. 16. Frequently found in Little League dugouts, on Pop Warner sidelines and at Millville’s Sussex Family Practice, Dunn died from brain cancer, which had just been diagnosed in early August.
“He liked being a community doctor. He liked the fact that he knew all the patients’ names [not just as numbers],” said his brother, Christopher Dunn of Elkton Md. “He treated them with the utmost respect.”
It was his dream to have a practice at the beach, the “type of place could hang up a ‘Gone Fishing’ sign,” said his friend and pastor, Andy Ehlers of High Tide Church.
Born in Norfolk, Va., and formerly of New Castle County, Dunn is survived by his wife and children, Tammy (Ledford) Dunn, and Reagan and Scarlett.
Cars and trucks crawled through Millville on Aug. 28, an appropriate backdrop to U.S. Sen. Tom Carper’s visit to the Route 26 Mainline construction project. Carper toured the state Thursday to talk federal transportation funding in regard to Route 26, Milford’s new Route 1 overpass and Wilmington’s Christina River Bridge.
If ever I am lost and find myself in Heaven,
Let it spell Bethany
In an unusually busy primary election day for Delawareans, voters on Sept. 9 will decide which candidates will represent their parties in more than a half-dozen races in November, including candidates for U.S. senator, State Treasurer, Delaware Auditor of Accounts, Sussex County Register of Wills, Sussex County Council District 5 and Sussex County Sheriff.
The Route 26 Project Team met Aug. 11 for a quick update on the 4-plus-mile road improvement project running from Clarksville to Ocean View.
Emergency roadwork will close one lane of Route 26 on early Saturday morning, July 12.
From midnight to 7 a.m., traffic will alternate between Railway Road and Clubhouse Road in Millville. Follow flaggers and drive carefully.
The Delaware Center for the Inland Bays, the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control’s Division of Fish & Wildlife Enforcement Section and the Division of Parks & Recreation are seeking volunteers and boats for the 10th annual Inland Bays Cleanup. The Cleanup will start at 9 a.m. on Saturday, July 12, and end about 1 p.m.
With the summer season in full swing, it is important to take the time to be extra cautious when traveling on area roads, for the safety of motorists, pedestrians and cyclists alike.
After a number of crashes in the area last year involving cyclists and pedestrians, at least one such accident has already been added to the tally for 2014.
Night work continues on the State Route 26 Mainline Improvement Project, over 4 miles of road construction between Clarksville and Ocean View. There may be lane closures overnight from Monday night to Friday morning, 7 p.m. to 6 a.m.:
• between West Avenue and Woodland Avenue (includes the Central Avenue intersection at Fulton Bank).
• between Cedar Drive (Super Giant) and Grants Avenue.
Just before Independence Day, people lined the streets to welcome home a local firefighter and internationally traveled soldier.
People and flags waved as the Millville Volunteer Fire Company escorted Specialist Charlie Mood Jr., 28, from the Indian River Inlet to the firehouse Tuesday. His company was the last of the Delaware National Guardsmen to return from Afghanistan.
Under American flags and “Welcome Home” signs, people lined the streets from the inlet to the fire hall. Lord Baltimore Elementary School even had a small contingent, including staff and a few students.
“We didn’t know who he was, but we wanted to be part of it,” said one teacher.
“A local school supporting local people,” another man said.
“That was amazing. I loved that,” Mood said at the firehouse. “It’s good to be back.”
A Frankford resident, Mood has served with the MVFC for nearly eight years.