WEEKEND #08, 2017
Rehoboth Beach, Delaware
MAN GOES MISSING FROM STAR OF THE SEA CONDO
Body discovered six days later in surf on north end of North Shores.
Not often do North Shores residents wake up to an active crime scene investigation as they did this past Friday.
Around 5:45 a.m., Rehoboth Beach and state police along with Rehoboth Beach firefighters and county paramedics responded to a report of a body in the surf. That is where police said they found the body of the missing 50-year-old man, Todd J. McKee. He had been reported missing the previous Saturday from the Star of the Sea condo and police had issued this Gold Alert for him last Tuesday.
A forensic investigator from the Division of Forensic Science came and McKee's body was removed, police said. The Delaware State Police and the Division of Forensic Science are conducting the death investigation. On Friday, police said no foul play is currently suspected.
As the partner of Welcome America CEO, Jeff Guaracino, his disappearance quickly garnered media attention especially in the Philadelphia area including this Philadelphia Magazine report.
The final post on McKee's Facebook page is a four-second video clip of the ocean which appears to have been taken at dawn from the Star of the Sea condo and posted the day he was reported missing.
Rehoboth Beach police released the above photo with this statement from the McKee's family on Friday:
"We are devastated by the news that our beloved partner, son, and brother Todd's body was found on a beach this morning. As we mourn the loss of this beautiful and kind man, we want to thank the Rehoboth Beach police, city and state officials and the community he so loved and adopted as his home, for helping to bring Todd back to us. We would also like to thank everyone who has reached out to support us during this difficult week. We ask for your continued prayers to give us strength as we grieve."
Photos courtesy Hoyte Decker, Tony Crivella and RBPD, respectively
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REHOBOTH SHUTS DOWN THURSDAY NIGHT "PIANO MAN"
After offering unsanctioned musical performances Thursday nights at the Rehoboth Beach Bandstand for seven weeks straight, city officials have ordered him to stop!
Matthew Bennett Davey, 42, performs original music on his Casio piano and sings to the alternative rock-style tunes he creates. He had performed for free Thursday nights at the bandstand and had been steadily increasing his fan base with each of the seven performances. "The stands were full," he said. "I didn't invite anybody. They just came!"
But all that came to an end this past Thursday when he said he received a message from Corey Groll, bandstand program director, warning him that he would no longer be allowed to play without permission and police had been notified to shut him down. As a result, he decided not to appear last Thursday for his weekly gig.
"I did not want to cause any problems," he said, noting that police had spoken with him the previous Thursday. He said he had called city hall, and was under the impression that if he were not disturbing the peace, or collecting money, he could perform.
Davey said his "free music concert series" performance times had been carefully planned around any official bandstand functions and he accepted no money. "Matthew is playing without permission from the City of Rehoboth, therefore I'm unable to comment on his performances," says Groll. "In order to perform or hold a gathering on the bandstand, we require permission from our city office. I would not encourage others to model this behavior," he added.
Davey's Casio electric piano and sound gear are powered with his own rechargeable battery, he points out. And his performances did not cost the city any money, noting that some sanctioned performers receive a stipend. "I was trying to give the city more without hitting the city or the taxpayers," he said. "I play for free and donate my time."
Davey said the bandstand is a "gorgeous facility and the most underused resource in town. My goal was to play every Thursday, maybe get an ad in the paper... maybe there is a buzz... I was getting families coming the next week and the next week while not promoting it at all. I was just trying to fly under the radar until they 'get it.'" He also wanted to play his original music in front of people he did not know so he could get an honest response from them.
"I won't play up there anymore," he said on Friday, noting that Groll did suggest that he submit a plan for consideration. "I need to write up a plan and submit it but I do not think they would approve it," Davey said. Davey would like to continue to perform for free on a weekly basis, but he suspects the city would only offer a one-time performance.
Photos courtesy Matthew Bennett Davey
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POLICE CHARGE DART BUS DRIVER AFTER WRECK AT 5 POINTS
Delaware State Police have charged the driver of this DART bus after an accident this past Friday.
MCpl. Jeffrey Hale, state police spokesman, says this 2009 Gillig Bus, driven by a 49-year-old woman, collided with a 2000 Dodge Ram pickup truck driven by a 46-year-old man around 8:50 a.m.
The bus was headed north preparing to make a left turn onto U.S. Route 9 from Belltown Road, MCpl. Hale stated. The bus driver failed to yield the right of way to the pickup which was traveling south across U.S. Route 9 onto Belltown Road from the Ace Hardware access road causing the collision, he added.
The driver of the pickup truck was taken to Beebe Hospital with minor non-life-threatening injuries, he said. Three passengers on the bus were uninjured.
The bus driver was cited for failure to yield the right of way on a left turn.
Photo courtesy Lily Koster, Portraits in the Sand
DEAD SEA TURTLE COMES TO SHORE IN REHOBOTH BEACH
It looked a bit like a scene from Jaws when this dead leatherback sea turtle floated to shore last Monday. Spectators gathered all around when this turtle first reached the beach near Laurel Street just before 10 a.m. Lifeguards eventually brought it up on the beach near the dunes at Wilmington Avenue, where it was examined by experts from the MERR Institute.
Suzanne Thurman, MERR Institute executive director, said the turtle was not yet fully grown at only 4.5 feet in length. It had a boat propeller injury, she added, but they did not know if that were post mortem or occurred prior to death. Public works crews were later called to bury the remains on the south edge of town.
RBM Hosts Acoustic Jam Night at Rehoboth Beach (this Wednesday, July 19, 7 to 10 p.m.)
REHOBOTH GETS A STAND-ALONE CHIMNEY SWIFT TOWER
All she wanted for Christmas, Cindy Lovett says she told her husband, Paul, was a Chimney Swift Tower. When Oak Grove's Lovett House was demolished, a popular chimney that the birds had used for decades was torn down. This new tower, the first free-standing one in Rehoboth Beach designed for birds, was intended to replace that old chimney at Canal Street and Rehoboth Avenue.
Chimney Swifts are indeed birds, often confused with bats, which spend their entire day in flight catching insects. They are unable to perch like most birds, so when it becomes dark, they return to their chimney where they roost for the night clinging to the insides.
The birds were featured in this May 2015 issue of Delaware Beach Life.
One of the best known chimneys the Swifts use in downtown Rehoboth Beach is at the rear of the Post Office, Cindy notes. Just prior to dusk the birds perform their dance above this chimney as it appears to suck them in, one at a time, almost like a vacuum.
Watch the Swifts perform their special dance as they sing and drop into the Post Office chimney in this YouTube video clip.
After the removal of the Lovett House chimney, Cindy promised herself she would replace that home somehow. Paul and Cindy looked for alternative habitat for the birds. After some research, they found plans for a Chimney Swift Tower on chimneyswifts.org. They commissioned "Uncle Charlie" Murphy, the builder of Egg, the new restaurant next door, to build it. And that he did, Cindy points out, exactly as depicted in the blueprints with insulated pockets, concrete base and proper ventilation.
Unbeknownst to Cindy, Paul negotiated a five-year lease with the Army Corps of Engineers, which oversees the land adjacent to the canal, to erect the tower, much as people would do for a dock. After some paperwork was completed, Paul got permission.
The tower has been up since April, so no occupants for this summer. But they are hoping the birds will move over the winter in time for the following season.
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REHOBOTH COMMISSIONER CANDIDATE NEWS
With only 26 days to election day, the commissioner candidates kept busy this past week canvassing Rehoboth Beach for potential voters.
Sonie and Hoyte Decker hosted a meet and greet, below, for Susan Gay last Wednesday. Twelve, mainly year-round, residents attended. The discussion was described as lively with a variety of significant topics including lack of communication, lack of ordinance enforcement, public vs. private debt vehicles (bonds), burying public utility lines, trash pickup on the boardwalk and the possibility of a public boat dock on the canal at the museum.
Gay also had a well attended meet & greet at Kate and Bunky Markert's house on Saturday. She has more neighborhood meet & greets scheduled this week including one on Friday, July 21, from 6 to 8 p.m. in the Pines. She also has a city-wide meet and greet scheduled for next Saturday, July 22, from 4 to 6 p.m. at G Cask Kitchen (where Lula Brazil and Cloud 9 were located). Please contact her if interested.
One of several campaign stops for Commissioner Kathy McGuiness this past week was a meet and greet, below, on Henlopen Avenue with Pat Coluzzi, farmers' market master and former commissioner, and hosts Diane Scobey and Jen Rubenstein. Comm. McGuiness says they had a great group with good discussions covering everything from transparency to the charm of the older homes.
Comm. McGuiness is hosting a city-wide meet and greet this Tuesday, July 18, from 3 to 4 p.m. at Dogfish Head Brewings & Eats. The following Monday, July 24, from 4 to 5 p.m. she has a get-together specifically for businesses and commercial property owners at the Rehoboth Beach firehouse. The following day, Tuesday, July 25, from 8 a.m. to 8:45 a.m., she is hosting another of her Constituent "Coffee with Kathy" events, also at the firehouse.
Lisa Schlosser is hosting a coffee in progress today, Monday, July 17, until 10 a.m. at The Coffee Mill. She has a meet and greet this Thursday, July 20, from 5 to 7 p.m. for south Rehoboth/Country Club property owners. Please e-mail email@example.com for location and to RSVP.
There is no public news to report from either mayoral candidate this week.
Photos courtesy Hoyte Decker, candidates
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REHOBOTH GETS ITS OWN VERIZON WIRELESS C.O.W.
After working a deal to park a cellsite-on-wheels (COW) next to Dewey Beach town hall, Verizon Wireless has made a similar agreement with Rehoboth Beach for this prime spot under the water tank. This past week, the techs said they hope to have the COW operational in a few days. It promises to provide more capacity for Verizon Wireless customers through September 15.
Verizon Wireless pays both Dewey and Rehoboth the same amount, $8,650, for the temporary lease. The COW will connect to a fiber drop on a nearby utility pole and has its own electrical service as well. It could return again next summer and use these same connections. See this city news release for info.
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UTILITY COMPANY RESPONDS TO TREES CUT DOWN ON HENLOPEN AVE
The removal last month of several trees along the power lines on Henlopen Avenue surprised some property owners. Elisabeth Lingo, Rehoboth Beach city arborist, says Delmarva Power did coordinate the work with the city. She says the crews removed two dead spruces and a dead pine from 17 Henlopen and 5 Henlopen, respectively.
"There were also leyland cypresses adjacent to 127 Henlopen [below] on city right of way [ROW] that were tangled in wires and a fire hazard due to proximity to the transformers and failure threat due to the location and species," she said. "This is why any homeowner plantings on city ROW need to first be approved by the city so future problems and inappropriate species can be avoided."
Lastly, they removed two 5-inch diameter pines that were fire hazards since they were touching the transformers. She says there were even some scorched needles on them. No mitigation (replacement) trees were required to remove these small trees, although Delmarva Power frequently donates trees to affected adjacent properties, Lingo said.
Nicholas J. Morici, Delmarva Power spokesman, says his company had been contacted by Comcast which is running a new line along Henlopen Avenue. "For safe installation of the new cable line, it was determined that the trees surrounding the infrastructure were a safety risk. A combination of trimming and tree removal was performed in this area. Prior to the work, Delmarva Power's forestry group met with the city's arborist. Both parties agreed that a number of trees should be removed in the city's right of way for proper safety clearance around overhead utility infrastructure," he added.
"Once we were notified by the other utility and then met with the city's tree professional about these safety concerns," Morici states, "we had an obligation to provide a safe working environment. We understand the special value of trees and tree removal is the last resort. We carefully take into consideration any possible alternatives prior to tree removal. Our vegetation management practices have been recognized by the National Arbor Day Foundation."
Morici refers concerned persons to this page on the Delmarva Power website for details regarding tree trimming and specifically this diagram which shows how much will be trimmed from trees near power lines based on the type of electrical line.
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OSHER RETURNS TO REHOBOTH WITH 'TIME OUT' ... for the beach!
Artist Marian Osher arrived in Rehoboth Beach this past week with her latest exhibition, 'Time Out' ...for the beach, which opened Friday at Gallery 50. She has perfected a unique technique to give her work a wonderful sense of three-dimensional perspective going beyond simple texture techniques. These photos do not do her work justice; you almost have to see it in person to appreciate the sense of depth.
Here she is with Ed McGann of Gallery 50 and her mixed-media collages, Sand and Shells.
Osher, a painter, printmaker and mixed-media artist also describes herself as an avid beachcomber and people watcher. This is her 25th solo show and her first solo show at Gallery 50. She has had exhibitions across the globe.
This exhibition, Osher explains, "is an evolving series of mixed-media collaged paintings which express my enjoyment and observation of the treasures of the beach -- both the people and the shells. I pick up a shell and observe cracks, chips, holes and colorations, and various patterns and marks. I wonder how long they have traveled and where."
I hope that these paintings also serve as a reminder that it is important to make time in our lives to relax, to play and to spend time by ourselves and with other people in a natural setting. This "time out" helps to renew our energy, enhances our well-being and refreshes our creativity, she points out. Appropriately, here is Osher's "Funland," a mixed-media painting which incorporates her photo collage technique with sand.
These mixed-media paintings evolve from her observations of Rehoboth, Bethany and 3R's beach (state park). Instead of painting from photos, she cuts up different photos that she has taken and recombines them to create the composition for her painting. "I may choose to raise part of the photo to break the surface of the painting or to extend and break the edge of the canvas," she explains.
"The photo elements are combined with painted elements and sand mixed with acrylic paint," she points out. She also paints on top of some of the photo collage to unify the surface and sometimes adds seashells on the painting. "I feel that working with mixed-media and collage on the canvas metaphors the textures and varied surfaces of the beach," she adds.
Osher's process continues to evolve as her paintings develop because she says she likes to experiment. Some of the paintings combine what she calls "sculpted canvas shells" and real shells with paint and sand. Osher selects shells or broken shells from her vast collection of "beachcomber treasures" as models. She paints shells on heavy floor canvas, which she can cut, bend, mold and then collage onto canvas, adding paint, sand and seashells! Here is a closer look at her "Sand and Shells 2," a mixed-media painting with sculpted shells on canvas. The artwork has a wonderful three-dimensional quality that is more obvious when seen in person.
Osher enjoys working in her studio in Ocean View, and she is also a resident artist at Artists and Makers Studios in Rockville, Maryland.
Her exhibition will continue through August 1, 2017. Please see the Gallery 50 website for info.
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CAR PARKS ON O.C. BOARDWALK, REALLY?
This photo has gone viral on social media this past week, but could a motorist get away with this on the O.C. boardwalk?
"Unfortunately, if this is a real picture (it looks like it is)," writes Lindsay Richard, OCPD spokeswoman, "then this is an example of a citizen taking out their cell phone to take a picture and post [it] but not to call and report it."
"Officers did not witness this," she points out, "therefore, the citizens were not cited. We encourage citizens to report violations like this so that officers can immediately address them."
Photo Source Unknown
DEATH INVESTIGATION ON 39th STREET IN O.C.--- Police in Ocean City initiated a death investigation in the ocean block of 39th Street just before 6 a.m. last Monday. One report suggested that the decedent was a 25-year-old man. Lindsay Richard, police spokeswoman, said on Thursday that police are waiting for the toxicology results. She also confirmed that the death on June 8 on Colonial Road was a narcotic overdose.
PEDESTRIAN INJURED IN HIT-AND-RUN IN O.C.--- Just before 3 a.m. Saturday, a man was struck by a hit-and-run driver on 15th Street in Ocean City. The accident was witnessed by an EMS crew in the area. A sheriff deputy was able to stop the suspect vehicle. The victim never lost consciousness and was flown from the Coast Guard station to a trauma center with what sounded like non-life-threatening injuries.
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