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WEEKEND #02, 2015

Rehoboth Beach, Delaware



Odor carried to downtown Rehoboth Beach

What was dispatched as a small brush fire Tuesday morning became a 15-acre marsh fire. The fire was reported around 11:42 a.m. on the bay side of Coastal Highway near Savages Ditch Road (also known as Savage Ditch Road) between the inlet and Dewey Beach. Rehoboth Beach firefighters arrived eight minutes later and reported a small brush fire which was wind-driven spreading quickly toward the marsh.

A half dozen Sussex County fire companies assisted by the state forest crews and the state police helicopter, Trooper 2, came to help as the fire smoldered several hours. Bethany Beach VFC Deputy Chief Shane Truitt joined the crew of Trooper 2 and took this photo, among others.

Winds were from the south and soon blew the smoke odor through Dewey and into downtown Rehoboth Beach.

Video from R. Justin Redefer of iDewey.com appeared on WMDT-TV. More video appears on iDewey's Facebook page. Below is the view from the DelDOT traffic camera looking north from the Indian River Inlet bridge.

More details are in this Cape Gazette article.

Photos courtesy Deputy Chief Shane Truitt, Bethany Beach VFC


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A Dewey Beach police officer handling a parking complaint happened to notice a silver handgun in plain view on the driver's seat of a 2004 Cadillac CTS. It happened around 2:15 a.m. Saturday on the ocean side of Bellevue Street.

As the officer walked away from the car, police say a man, later identified as 20-year-old Davon Patrick Akins of Warner Robins, Georgia, unlocked the door and quickly retrieved an object from the front seat.

As several officers approached, police say Akins concealed something as he fled on foot running south through the residential neighborhood. That is when police noticed the gun was missing from the car.

After searching for Akins, police said they found him hiding under a parked vehicle about a block from the Cadillac. Akins had discarded the gun as he fled, but police were able to find it after a brief search of the area.

Akins was returned to the Dewey Beach Police Department where he was video arraigned at the Justice of the Peace Court #3 in Georgetown. He was committed to the Sussex Correctional Center in lieu of $15,000 secured bond. He faces charges of carrying a concealed deadly weapon, a felony, and a misdemeanor charge of resisting arrest.

Ironically, had Akins left the gun on the front seat, in plain view, he probably would not have faced any charges. Police identified the gun as a Derringer.

Photo courtesy Dewey Beach PD


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Some people consider it a bit annoying while others say this is a construction necessity. Several construction sites recently in Rehoboth Beach have been pumping water onto the streets and storm drains which flow into the lakes, canal and ocean.

Right now, the most prominent site is the second block of Wilmington Avenue. "This drainage is coming from a 'de-watering' process on the construction site of the expansion of The Avenue Inn," says Commissioner Stan Mills. "De-watering draws water from the ground to allow for in-ground construction (such as basements, underground parking, etc.) to prevent flooding while under construction."

Such drainage is allowed by the city and is authorized by DNREC, Comm. Mills said. With regard to this construction site, he said "it is my understanding that it was anticipated that the drainage would flow only into one storm drain on the northwest corner of First Street at Wilmington Avenue and so filter cloth was installed by the contractor in that storm drain catch basin to capture contaminants."

"As we have seen," he added, "the drainage spills beyond that first storm drain to another drain on the southwest corner plus sometimes a little discharge into a third drain on First Street mid-block between Wilmington and Delaware Avenues." The second drain had filter cloth installed before the weekend, Comm. Mills added.

Comm. Mills says it is his understanding that at the request of the city, DNREC is allowing the contractor to redirect the drainage into a storm drain on the north side of and mid-block of Wilmington Avenue between First and Second streets again with filter cloth installed in the catch basin. That is expected to occur early this coming week. "So hopefully with the water being rerouted we can relieve the unanticipated flooding at Wilmington Avenue and First Street," he added.

Rehoboth Beach City Manager Sharon Lynn said the de-watering occurring at the Avenue Inn is permitted and being monitored by the city building inspector's office.

Another site where water was recently pumped onto public streets was on Third Street, below, next to Lake Gerar.

Lynn said this construction site prior to Memorial Day Weekend was permitted to drain a pool through vegetative areas. Some of that water flowed into a storm drain near Lake Gerar.

Another project near Silver Lake on Lake Drive involves the excavating and installation of new water and sewer pipes using a de-watering system. Comm. Mills said that it is necessary otherwise the ditches would flood with water as the construction workers dig.


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Police promise crackdown on underage drinkers

It is now "June bug" season, the time of the summer when high school grads arrive for "beach week." Police have released this poster listing a toll-free number to report underage drinkers.



There is nothing like a vehicle fire on the beach to put firefighters to the challenge. Around 12:30 p.m. Saturday, fire consumed this SUV on the York vehicle crossing south of South Bethany in the Delaware Seashore State Park.

According to the Bethany Beach VFC Facebook page, Asst. Chief Tom Moore arrived to find this SUV engulfed in flames near the drive-on entrance. An additional brush truck was requested from Millville.

The fire was brought quickly under control and the scene was turned over to DNREC for investigation.

Photo courtesy Megan Callaway via Bethany Beach VFC


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Last week, Rehoboth Beach officials and selected news outlets received a barrage of e-mails, as many as 30, sending this message from various addresses. The e-mails charge that gays were targeted by Rehoboth Beach police over Memorial Day Weekend for alcohol and noise complaints. Those messages touched off a slew of media reports (links below).

Missing from many news reports, however, was input from actual residents in the Poodle Beach area. A few property owners who called police last weekend were the reason police were called to Poodle Beach on Saturday and Sunday to begin with.

This past Saturday, police were once again called to the dunes at the city's southern edge. The complaint alleged that a man had been cutting across the dunes to relieve himself, despite the signs.

One property owner, who did not want to be identified, said a steady stream of beach goers, mostly young men, used Silver Lake to urinate during Memorial Day Weekend. She said this is typical of all cold holiday weekends, not just this past Memorial Day Weekend.

What has changed, she added, is that there are several more new homes in the ocean blocks adjacent to Poodle Beach which results in more resident calls to police. She did note that she hopes people are aware of the poison ivy along the lake's edge.

She said she and her neighbors are opposed to any attempt to provide public restrooms or porta-johns in the neighborhood. Public restrooms are on Delaware Avenue, about an eight-block walk. As soon as the weather warms up, this won't be so much of a problem, she added.

Related articles:

Tourists accuse Rehoboth police of targeting LGBT community
Citations stir unrest in Rehoboth Beach
Rehoboth police say crackdown not aimed at gays
Rehoboth Beach noise crackdown blindsides visitors
Some tourists accuse Rehoboth police of targeting LGBT community
New noise ordinance at beach over holiday suffers backlash
Summer begins: Police busy, few arrests


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This past Friday, one of the five piping plover nests on the Point at Cape Henlopen has hatched and chicks have been spotted on the beach, while a second nest is in the process of hatching, according to DNREC Division of Fish & Wildlife beach-nesting monitors.

The season's first nest began hatching May 25, with one of the eggs showing cracking where the chick was pecking its way out, a process known as "starring." One fluffy chick has been reportedly seen so far in the second nest, while the other three plover pairs on the Point continue to incubate their nests.

Farther south, DNREC says the plover pair at Gordons Pond also continues to incubate their eggs. Rachel Emory, one of the monitors, had taken this photo of a piping plover with two chicks at Gordon's Pond last summer.

In other beachnester news, DNREC reports that nesting monitors continue to watch two American oystercatcher nests at the Point with adults incubating. No oystercatchers are displaying nesting behavior at Gordons Pond, however.

Least terns at Cape Henlopen have advanced to the next stage in their breeding cycle with a few scrapes found and some defensive behavior being shown by the birds. This photo by Julie McCall shows a least tern on Beach Plum Island in May.

At the Delaware Seashore State Park, a three-egg oystercatcher nest was discovered on May 10 on the ocean beach and is being incubated by both adults. Since the nest was found with a complete clutch, a date of potential hatch cannot be determined. Fencing has been built around the nest to protect it from disturbance.

The piping plover was listed as threatened under the federal Endangered Species Act (ESA) in 1986, and DNREC's Division of Fish and Wildlife is responsible for its protection in Delaware. Piping plover nesting areas at Cape Henlopen State Park are closed annually to the public to protect the shorebirds from disturbance during their nesting season which usually runs from March into September.

This includes the Point and smaller areas around Gordon's Pond. The closure has been successful, DNREC says, increasing the number of piping plover nesting pairs from a low of two pairs to a high of nine pairs, and must include feeding habitat as well as nesting areas. Piping plovers feed on small invertebrates that inhabit the inter-tidal zone near their nesting territories.

Jesse Baird took this photo of a piping plover brooding two chicks on Cape Henlopen in 2013.

Chicks are not fed by their parents, but rather are led to the shoreline to forage while the adults keep watch for potential threats. Allowing pedestrian traffic in the inter-tidal zone adjoining nesting areas would disturb the vital link between nesting and foraging habitat and risk adverse stress or mortality to the chicks.

For more information on beach-nesting birds and monitoring efforts, people should e-mail Matthew Bailey, DNREC wildlife biologist.

Photos courtesy DNREC and the respective photographers/nest monitors



It is not a matter of if a hurricane is going to hit us, it is only a matter of when, warns Joe Thomas, Sussex County Emergency Operations Center director.

Thomas, along with city officials and reps from the Red Cross and Delmarva Power, gathered at the bandstand Thursday for Hurricane Preparedness Week. Hurricane season officially starts today, June 1.

Shown below are Rehoboth Beach Police Chief Keith Banks, City Manager Sharon Lynn, Jim Smith, Delmarva Power senior public affairs manager, Joe Thomas, county EOC director, and Patrick Delaney, American Red Cross of Delmarva executive director.

The county has helpful safety tips for visitors and residents on the county's website, including survival basics such as what they should have in their disaster kits, other preps, info on flooding, storm surges and a map showing evacuation routes, marine safety, forecasting, winds and hurricane tracking. Now is the time, they warn, to make certain we are prepared.

Delmarva Power is providing a "Storm Preparation Handbook" that can be downloaded from its website or customers may call 800-375-7117 to request a copy by mail.

The Red Cross also offers an all-inclusive app providing expert advice on what to do in case of hurricane, flooding, tornado, fire and other disasters.

Red Cross and Delmarva Power officials also met earlier in the day with Ocean City officials. Here is The Dispatch article with details and a report by WMDT-TV discussing hurricane prep tips.

Also of interest is this News Journal article discussing how cold water helps protect Delaware from hurricanes.


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by Dagmar Kirchner Henney

"I love doing it," says painter Caroline Huff, whose latest exhibition is on display at Rehoboth's Philip Morton Gallery.

Huff, a local professional artist living in the Glade, brought in a huge number of visitors for her lovely opening this past Saturday.

She explained how her father was an artist and that got her started when she was two or three years old and she never quit!

Huff is well traveled and it shows in her work from the Chesapeake Bay, Venice, the Greek islands and many other wonderful backdrops. She loves the feeling of water and seascapes. Those lovely locales are so inviting, colorful and lively, especially for those already living at the seashore.

She typically paints acrylic on linen, mostly from slides. "I am not a photo-realist," she emphasizes, in her artist statement. Huff said she prefers the term veduta ideta (view conceived), which means a realistic scene whose elements are completely imaginary. Just check out her boat in this painting. It could almost be a photograph.

Any of her paintings make one feel you are invited to relax and admire the scenery with a sense that one could step into one of the scenes and enjoy.

What a way to start the summer season with Huff's colorful and delightful paintings presented by Eric Davison from the Philip Morton Gallery which was awarded Best of Delaware Art Gallery Downstate three years in a row by Delaware Today. Huff's exhibition runs through June 18 at the gallery at 47 Baltimore Avenue.


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Photo courtesy Mike Behringer



"Here are two pictures of house finches," says Matt Turlinski. "We did not know there were four. They look like they are about to fly away," he adds. They have been nesting in downtown Rehoboth Beach.

The males have a lot of red and the females are gray.

Photo courtesy Matt Turlinski



HOMELESS MEN SET UP SHELTER ON BEACH--- Rehoboth Beach public works crews cleaning the beach early Tuesday encountered what one person called a "sand igloo" set up near the Star of the Sea. It was described as a big hole dug in the sand with an upside-down umbrella used as a canopy. It was removed and the men have gone elsewhere. In recent times, homeless people in town have lived in backyards, under the drawbridge and on the beach and dunes, typically on the far south or north ends of town.



Congressman Carney discusses impact of off-shore drilling

Slaughter Beach unveils new Bayshore signage highlighting shorebirds, horseshoe crabs, terrapins and wildlife habitat

Abandoned fawns: What you should know and should not do if you find them

Women robbed, injured near Rehoboth (9:35 p.m. Tuesday)

State police arrest two men for Capital One Bank robbery outside Rehoboth (Mem Day Weekend)

Woman killed, two men injured in accident northeast of Georgetown (Saturday)

Rehoboth Beach officials target residential pools

Scammers hit Rehoboth Beach businesses

Rehoboth Beach Volunteer Fire Company dedicates Station 2

Rehoboth Beach on Thrillist 14 best small beach towns in America

Five hidden hotspots in Delaware revealed (WGAL-TV, Lancaster)

Rehoboth Beach outfall project Q&A

Late-night lovers: Thousands of horseshoe crabs spawn

Pro-skim boarders hit the beach to hit the waves

After dangerous 2014, Ocean City looks for calm (Baltimore Sun)

Ocean City police report increase in IRS scams

Ocean City prepared for "College Beach Week" event, typical June activities

Ocean City's new street performer law nears passage



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