Sussex County News
Sussex County, Delaware
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Patti Grimes, of the Joshua M. Freeman Foundation, gave Sussex County Council an update on The Freeman Stage at Bayside on April 11.
“If you can believe it, this is our 10th year,” said Grimes. “We want to thank Sussex County for being such a great partner and to let you know that what started as a vision in an arts desert in 2008 has turned into a thriving arts area.”
On Wednesday, April 5, Dagsboro resident Matthew Burton admitted to having committed the rape and murder of Nicole Bennett nearly five years ago.
As reported by the Cape Gazette newspaper, Delaware Superior Court Judge E. Scott Bradley asked Burton if he raped and murdered Bennett.
“Yes,” replied Burton.
Burton, who was 28 at the time of the murder, is now 33. Last week, he pled guilty to second-degree murder, being sentenced to 40 years, suspended after 15 years, and second-degree rape, for which he was sentenced to 25 years, also suspended after 15.
As a result, Burton will serve a total of 30 years in a Level 5 prison facility, with credit for time served, after which he will serve 20 years on probation.
Sussex County recently purchased King Farm, a 74-acre property off Park Avenue, east of Georgetown, for $2.2 million. The property will be added to the adjacent Sussex County Industrial Park, which currently houses 20 businesses that employ approximately 900 people.
Sussex County officials are looking ahead at the possibility of a statewide property reassessment and potential impacts at the county government level as state officials work to prepare a 2018-fiscal-year budget that they hope will address a $350 million state budget shortfall coming in to Gov. John Carney’s term.
Feedback is coming in for the Millsboro-South Study, which proposes widening Route 113 and a new Route 24 connector road. The Delaware Department of Transportation (DelDOT) is inviting the public to comment on the plans, officially laid out in the Supplemental Draft Environmental Impact Statement (SDEIS).
Local polls will open on Thursday, March 2, for the Indian River School District’s current-expense referendum.
Comparing it to the November 2016 referendum, which failed by 20 votes, IRSD Acting Superintendent Mark Steele said, “We’re still asking you for the same 49 cents,” but the expenses have been restructured.
The Sussex County Planning & Zoning Commission no longer has a vacancy, as Kim Hoey Stevenson will fill the seat formerly held by current Sussex County Councilman I.G. Burton III.
Stevenson, who currently serves as the communications director for the Delaware Senate Republican Caucus, as well as a freelance writer, was publically interviewed by the Sussex County Council on Feb. 14.
About 200 people gathered on The Circle in Georgetown on Sunday, Feb. 12, to participate in a rally and march sponsored by the Progressive Democrats of Sussex County and the Sussex County Democratic Party, with the theme “We Shall Not Be Silenced.”
The rally was in response to the silencing of U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) during the proceedings leading up to the vote on Jeff Sessions’ nomination for U.S. Attorney General. Warren had begun to read a letter written by Coretta Scott King, widow of civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr., when she was ordered to stop by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), who claimed she was in violation of a Senate rule known as Rule 19, which prohibits senators from “impugning” the integrity of their colleagues on the floor of the Senate.
Joanne Cabry of the Progressive Democrats of Sussex County and Sussex County Democratic Party Chair Jane Hovington led a rally that included the reading of Scott King’s letter, in which she explained why she opposed the nomination of Sessions as a federal judge. Five women took turns reading sections of the 1986 letter, which was prohibited from being read on the Senate floor during those proceedings 30 years ago, as well.
Hovington told the crowd that the rally and march were meant to “put Mitch McConnell on notice that we will not be silenced. We will not be intimidated and we will not be frightened,” she said. “We will remember, and we will resist.”
Sussex County will once again participate in the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program this year, with the county council voicing its approval following a public hearing on Tuesday, Feb. 7.
The Sussex County Planning & Zoning Commission this week voted in favor of approving a conditional use request for 25 acres of AR-1 land, located on the southwest side of Sweetbriar Road in Lewes, to build a new school for the Sussex Consortium.
Completing a project from the 2016 fiscal year, Sussex County now has a comprehensive electronic zoning map.
Nearly two years have passed since the Delaware Department of Transportation (DelDOT) abandoned the unpopular plan for a Route 113 bypass for Millsboro south to Selbyville. Instead, they now plan to widen the existing highway and build a new road connecting Route 113 to Route 24.
The Sussex County Advisory Committee on Aging & Adults with Physical Disabilities met this week and provided to those in attendance a brief update as to what services a number of area organizations provide.
Matthew J. Robinson of the Delaware Sports Commission spoke before the Sussex County Council this week regarding the success of Slam Dunk to the Beach Tournament.
“Really, why I’m here today is, one, to thank, and, two, share on the success of the tournament,” said Robinson at the council’s Jan. 24 meeting. “I think it’s been a great example of cooperation.”
It’s Part Two in a major victory for those concerned about the impact of fossil fuel exploration on a clean, healthy Atlantic Ocean. Seismic testing has been banned in the U.S.’s Atlantic Ocean waters, for now.
In coastal Delaware, it’s time to ACT up.
Perhaps a decade has passed since the coastal towns came together in an official alliance. But the Association of Coastal Towns (ACT) is re-forming, with Bethany Beach, South Bethany and Fenwick Island already in on the ACT.
After 47 years of service to Sussex County government, Planning & Zoning Director Lawrence Lank will retire on Jan. 6.
The longest-serving County employee in its history, Lank was hired Oct. 14, 1969, as a map draftsman. He then went on to work as a planning tech from 1977 until January 1985, when he became the active director. In April of that year, he took over as permanent Planning & Zoning director.
“We’re certainly sad to see him go and wish him all the best on his next chapter,” said County Administrator Todd Lawson.
During its Jan. 3 meeting, Sussex County council members took the time to recognize Lank for his service and say a few words.
Who would have thought a political event from the 1700s would still be making such a big impact on tourism?
But every two years, Return Day brings thousands of people to Georgetown to watch political rivals literally “bury the hatchet.”
It’s perhaps the last event of its kind in the United States, and it won the 2016 “Best Event” award at the Southern Delaware Tourism luncheon on Dec. 12.
U.S. Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.) is no stranger to the event. He said Delaware political candidates can look forward to the parade as soon as they win their primaries.
This week’s Sussex County Council meeting was the last for longtime Councilwoman Joan Deaver, the outgoing District 3 representative, who was the first woman to be elected to the council.
The Sussex County Council, along with members of the Sussex County Planning & Zoning Commission and County staff met earlier this week for a workshop on the County’s 2018 Comprehensive Plan.
A comprehensive plan, which is required by state law, is a long-range policy guide for decision-making regarding the future of the natural and built environment of a community.
Many people flocked to Georgetown last Thursday to take part in the unique tradition known as Return Day.
Back in 1791, state law moved the Sussex County seat from Lewes to Georgetown, as the municipality was a more central location within the county. Residents would “return” to Georgetown two days following the election to hear the election results.
That tradition has been kept alive, and every two years, Sussex Countians return to Georgetown to hear the reading of the election results for the county, read by the town crier from the balcony of the Sussex County Courthouse.
This year, festivities began during the evening of Wednesday, Nov. 9, with music and a street fair around Georgetown’s Circle.
On Nov. 10, mayors of Sussex municipalities participated in a hatchet toss among seven competing mayors, which was won by Ocean View Mayor Walter Curran.
Residents of Sussex County are being encouraged to attend a forum hosted by the League of Women Voters of Sussex County tonight. The forum, “The Developers’ Perspective: An Effective 2018 Comprehensive Plan,” will be held in County Council Chambers in Georgetown on Wednesday, Nov. 16, at 7 p.m.
Following a long election season, the State of Delaware only saw a statewide voter turnout of 65.34 percent.
Nationally, the State’s popular vote went to presidential candidate Hillary Clinton (53.35 percent), with President-elect Donald Trump receiving 41.92 percent, and third party candidates receiving close to 5 percent of the vote.
The Sussex County Today & Tomorrow Conference was held last week, with the mission of providing “insight and identify opportunities in Sussex County to promote economics, partnership and collaboration.”
Micheal Meoli, owner/operator of The Meoli Companies, was the conference’s keynote speaker, and discussed what it takes to be successful in business.
Lock your doors! Police are asking people to avoid being an easy target for theft.
Recently, Ocean View Police Department reported a rash of burglaries in early November, including 10 car burglaries in two days. Every vehicle was left unlocked overnight.
“Only the ones being left unlocked are the ones being tampered with,” said Capt. Heath Hall.