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WEEKEND #01, 2013

(Memorial Day Weekend)

Rehoboth Beach, Delaware




Usually Rehoboth Beach police are only called to the M&T Bank when a tow truck driver is confronted by an angry vehicle owner being towed because they parked in the "ATM Parking Only" spaces.

But Sunday night, two towing companies faced off in the bank parking lot on Rehoboth Avenue, and one company's truck almost got towed.

M.A.G. Towing and Coastal Towing are fierce competitors providing removal of illegally parked vehicles in Dewey and Rehoboth.

Around 10:36 p.m., police received the call for assistance. M.A.G. Towing had a truck in the handicapped parking space, and Coastal Towing had it on the lift when police arrived.

After several minutes of discussion among the men and the officers, the M.A.G. truck was lowered to the ground.

"I am sure the problem is not resolved," one officer said as he left the scene.

On Monday, Charles Moore, owner of Coastal Towing said "I never had this [problem] before... This thing with M.A.G. is out of control," he stated. "I don't know what to say. It is not going to be pretty."

Moore said he and Blue Hen Towing have been towing in this town since 1989 and they have never "hunted" a lot as he claims M.A.G. Towing is doing now.

He says M.A.G. Towing uses the handicapped space in the bank lot to "stalk" the private parking lot across Rehoboth Avenue next to Catcher's Restaurant and the Running Company. Despite the signs threatening that the lot is private, it is often used by people who shop or dine at the Cultured Pearl, its shops and especially Starbucks.

Moore says he suspects the M.A.G. driver Sunday night left his truck parked in the handicapped parking space while checking on vehicles parked in Catcher's lot. That is when the hunter became the hunted, and Coastal Towing hooked M.A.G.'s truck and was about to tow it from the handicapped parking space.

Moore said he is going to check with M&T Bank to determine what they want to do with towing when the bank is closed. Typically, he says, they tow only from the "ATM Parking Only" and he assumed the handicapped parking space is included as well. He said handicapped people need 24-hour ATM access. People typically use the other parking spaces in the bank's lot without being towed.

"Towing is necessary evil," Moore added, "but you don't need to make it... you don't need to sit there relentlessly watching a property."

Efforts to contact M.A.G. Towing for comment by telephone and via the M.A.G. Facebook page have been unsuccessful.

Crystal Karnes of the Cultured Pearl said this has been a chronic problem. She noted that the restaurant even placed cones with signs on them in the Catcher's lot trying to warn customers not to park there. But she said they were taken away as if somebody did not want customers to get the message.

She said the Cultured Pearl does not want anybody to get towed and the Pearl has posted notes in its building warning about the potential.



Early Sunday was the perfect recipe for a serious pedestrian accident. "Last call" at the Dewey Beach bars was at 1 a.m., sending crowds of drunks out along Coastal Highway. Like a scene from a Hitchcock film, zombies on a pilgrimage, the seemingly endless groups of intoxicated persons, probably hundreds, walked, stumbled, screamed and made love as they headed home along the highway.

Around 1:19 a.m., state police say a trooper responding on a "routine assist with large disorderly crowd" struck a 24-year-old Pennsylvania man straddling the edge of the shoulder and right travel lane of southbound Coastal Highway at Rogers Avenue. The man had been walking north just steps from the Dewey Beach town limits. Police say no emergency equipment (strobe lights and siren) were activated at the time of the crash.

The pedestrian, identified as Brian T. McDermott of Bryn Mawr, was struck by a marked 2011 Ford Crown Victoria police car. Upon impact, police say McDermott was thrown to the roadway and his shoes were sent flying down Coastal Highway. The Trooper, assigned to Troop 7 in Lewes, provided aid until EMS personnel arrived.

McDermott was initially described as unresponsive, and later alert but "highly intoxicated." He was taken by ambulance to the Rehoboth Elementary School where the state police helicopter, Trooper 2, flew him to Christiana Hospital. Police say he was admitted in critical condition. The 27-year-old trooper driving the Crown Vic was not injured.

The southbound lanes of Coastal Highway were closed for about three hours.



Almost picking up where we left Labor Day Weekend 2012 (and Weekend Report #15), the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) continues work on the three troubled storm-water outfall pipes on the beach in Rehoboth.

This was the scene the Wednesday before Memorial Day Weekend. The Army's contractor, Reilly Construction, was feverishly working to at least complete the extension for the Rehoboth Avenue outfall pipe which drains storm water into the ocean.

Reilly did complete the extension and the surrounding beach reopened in time for the weekend.

Here is what the extension looks like during low tide this past weekend.

This extends the section of pipe shown in this photo from last season, which was frequently clogged with sand.

Commissioner Stan Mills says "While the contractor has to cut back the existing storm-drain outfall pipes to undamaged, solid piping, they then add on enough new pipe to net 18 foot extensions at Rehoboth Avenue and Laurel Street, and a net of a 36 foot extension at Delaware Avenue."

The longer extension at Delaware, he said, "is a reason that project is a magnitude bigger and more complicated than the projects at Rehoboth Avenue and Laurel Street, which are both about the same scale projects."

During the Memorial Day Weekend, the construction equipment was moved to the area south of Prospect Street.

Reilly's two trailers occupy nine parking spaces at Delaware Avenue near the boardwalk and Funland. Working with Reilly is Channel Marine Construction. Both companies are based in New Jersey.

This coming week, says Steve Rochette, USACE spokesman, the contractor will proceed to work on outfall pipes on Delaware Avenue and Laurel Street. "There have been a number of delays with the work," Rochette said. The project was targeted to be completed by now.

"It is regrettable that we find ourselves in what is still a difficult situation," says Mayor Sam Cooper. "For various reasons, out of the control of the City, only the Rehoboth Avenue outfall will be finished before the Memorial Day weekend."

He said at last Tuesday's meeting with the USACE, DNREC and the contractor, they decided to proceed with the two remaining outfalls. "The primary reason," says Mayor Cooper, "was the belief that the Delaware Avenue [outfall] is subject to being covered by sand, thus the real possibility of a repeat of the flooding that occurred in late August last year."

"Secondary reasons for not delaying the project until after the summer time," says Commissioner Mills, "are that conditions on an oceanfront work site during September and beyond -- hurricane season -- are likely to be much more problematic. Plus, on the horizon is beach nourishment to remediate the erosion caused by Superstorm Sandy where, obviously, adding any sands to the beach is best done after completion of the storm-drain outfall extensions. As the USACE has yet to bid out this replenishment work with a job scope including beach sites in Fenwick Island, South Bethany, Bethany Beach, Dewey Beach, Rehoboth Beach and Lewes, there is no sequencing schedule nor timeline set in stone, although replenishment could possibly begin in one of the project areas in later summer before moving on to the next beach site."

The contractor is expected to start on the Laurel Street outfall the day after Memorial Day and expects to finish before the end of June, Mayor Cooper noted.

"They committed to make every effort to obtain the necessary steel sheet piling for the Delaware Avenue outfall and mobilize a second crew to begin installing the cofferdam at this location ASAP," he said. "This outfall is more complicated because it is to be extended further than the other two and it is deeper in the sand. It may take eight to nine weeks or until the end of July to complete the Delaware Avenue outfall."

He noted that a number of things must fall into place in order to meet the schedule and will require the cooperation of everyone involved. A portion of the beach and ocean will need to be closed during this period of construction.

"I believe," says Mayor Cooper, "that given the difficult choices presented, the best path forward has been chosen. I would reaffirm, however, that the City is not in control of this contract thus must rely on others to move this project forward and keep promises made."



On the second day of the 2013 lifeguard season, a Rehoboth Beach lifeguard stand disappeared. According to a source on the beach patrol, when guards reported for duty Sunday, the Olive Avenue stand, which is one of four lieutenant stands, was missing. With his rescue can, stand flag #8 and backboard, a guard stood watch until a spare chair could be located and brought to him.



There has been much debate about scooter parking in Rehoboth Beach. Over the winter, the city decided that scooter owners must purchase a $40 permit to park scooters in all non-metered public parking areas. The city has reserved parking areas for scooters on many streets which the scooter owners may use with the $40 permit.

The city now prohibits scooters from parking at bike racks or along public sidewalks. They can park in regular metered parking spaces but must pay like cars.

Scooter owners protested this past Saturday by parking scooters, one per parking spot, in the ocean block of Rehoboth Avenue. Around 10:30 a.m., there were 68 scooters. There are a total of 181 car-size parking spots in this block.

The protest was organized by Ken Hensey. Here is a copy of the flier many of the protesters attached to their scooters.

One of the most notable protesters is former Rehoboth Beach Mayor John Hughes. Here he is with Kathy Cooper, another scooter owner, who came prepared to feed the meter. Cooper said she counted 85 scooters at 9:30 a.m. while Tom McGlone reported 65 scooters at 8:45 a.m.

The super-size scooter parking area behind the firehouse was empty almost all weekend, even during peak day and evening hours.

Where scooters had parked with bikes on Prospect Street in previous seasons, there were few this weekend at any of the spaces reserved by the city for scooter parking.

Grub Grocery on Rehoboth Avenue at 4th Street is providing long-term scooter parking on a first-come basis. Shown below are eight scooters parked in the Grub lot on Sunday and none in the spots to the right reserved by the city for scooter parking.

These links have more info on scooter parking:
Rehoboth scooter protest kicks off Memorial Day
Rehoboth resident sues over scooter parking fees
Rehoboth facing class action suit over scooters
Scooter Park-In Protest Facebook page
Beach parking: Finding room for all vehicles (good details)

Photo courtesy Hoyte Decker



This controversial project -- built on the parking lot between Dickinson and Van Dyke avenues in Dewey Beach -- was targeted to be completed by Memorial Day Weekend. But it has a ways to go still.

Here is how it looked the Thursday before Memorial Day.

Ryan Kennedy, marketing director for Harvey, Hanna & Associates, Inc., says the project currently is under construction (Phase 1) and is expected to be open later this summer.

He says the rendering shown below is after Phase 2 has been finished. Here is a news release he provides explaining the project. Initially there will be 16 condos on top of the Hyatt which will be priced between $590,000 and $1.1 million.

Kennedy said Phase 2 will add roughly 70 condos. He added that Phase 2 is in the middle of the design stage right now and that number could change.

Links for more info:
Ruddertowne complex misses Memorial Day
Public walkway in Dewey gets OK
The Residences Lighthouse Cove Dewey Beach website
Hyatt Place Dewey Beach website
Dewey Beach Enterprises news release



An informal group of "plein air" painters painted Rehoboth Beach this past Wednesday.

Plein Air Painters Mid-Atlantic is an informal group of about 40 artists who spend their Wednesdays between May and October painting together outdoors. "En plein air" is French for painting outdoors.

They currently are painting each site along the Delaware History Trail, and that is what brought them to Rehoboth Beach this past week. This Wednesday they plan to paint at the Dover Air Force Base Air Mobility Command Museum.

Shown painting the new Dolle's sign are Becca Fahey, N. Taylor Collins and Maria Liberto Bessette. They had nine painters in town on Wednesday.

For more information on the group, check Facebook, e-mail: PleinAirPaintersMidAtlantic@groups.facebook.com or contact Bessette at 302-241-5919. She says the group welcomes new members and there is no charge.

Their first group exhibition is on display at the Delaware Agricultural Museum & Village in Dover until July 31. The show features 20 Delaware locations painted by 15 plein air artists.



The seal which had been found in South Bethany the day after Valentine's Day was released on Thursday. Rescuers named the seal "Valentine."

Suzanne Thurman, executive director of the MERR Institute, said Valentine was a small juvenile harbor seal that appeared to have been suffering from pneumonia and other problems.

Valentine recuperated at the National Aquarium in Baltimore.

Here is the video of Valentine's release posted on Facebook.

Photo courtesy MERR Institute






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INTOXICATED MAN STUNG BY STINGRAY, TAKEN TO BEEBE WITH POLICE--- An intoxicated man arrived at the Slaughter Beach firehouse around 12:30 p.m. Monday after he had been stung in the leg by a stingray. He had become combative when EMS personnel were treating him. The 31 year old was taken to Beebe Hospital by ambulance with a state trooper.

WIRE GASHES WOMAN'S FOOT ON REHOBOTH DUNE CROSSING--- A woman received a gash to her foot at the dune crossover in the area of Grotto's on the south boards. It happened around 1:30 p.m. Sunday after she reportedly stepped on a piece of wire. She declined an ambulance and was reportedly going to the hospital by private means.

INFANT BITTEN IN FACE BY DOG, FLOWN TO TRAUMA CENTER--- A baby was bitten by a dog and suffered injury to the eye and neck. It was reported just before 8 p.m. on Monday on Pot of Gold Circle in the Rainbow Trailer Park south of Millsboro. EMS reports suggested that the 12 month old had a slashed left eye and injury to the neck. The state police helicopter flew the child to the Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children.



Leading the way in Lewes (gerontologist who moved to Lewes)

Stretch of beach at Cape Henlopen State Park closed to safeguard nesting piping plovers

Rehoboth Beach 2013: A very gay-friendly summer (Huffington Post)

Gov. Markell joins Delmarva Wellnet to celebrate success of food-scrap recycling program REPLENISH

Attorney General visits West Rehoboth

Getting around the beach without your own wheels

Retirees use their time for politics (mentions Dewey Beach Mayor)

New owners for bankrupt Sea Esta III and Sea Esta IV

Dewey Beach kicks the habit (no beach smoking)

All aboard Delaware water taxi

Rebuilding the coastline, but at what cost? (New York Times)

DNREC Division of Fish and Wildlife seeking great shots of Delaware anglers for photo contest

Beachgoers chased from NJ by hurricane damage head to Delmarva (Washington Post; mentions Blue Moon)

Delaware beaches court visitors post-Superstorm Sandy

Chasing rays: A guide to Maryland and Delaware's ocean shores



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