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WEEKEND #05, 2013

Rehoboth Beach, Delaware




What would you think if a gun shop opened in your neighborhood? Would you oppose it, embrace it or be ambivalent?

That is now the question some residents and stakeholders in West Rehoboth are asking themselves.

A new gun shop has just hung out its sign which is already causing controversy.

The sign went up about a week ago. Owner of the shop, Richard Catts, whose family is well known for the Catts beach umbrella and chair rentals, says his new firearms shop, Delaware Firearms LLC, located in a warehouse on Hebron Road, will be one of the few -- if not the only -- gun store serving the Rehoboth and Dewey areas.

Catts says he does not work for the family's Catts Beach Service and has been a full-time family nurse practitioner for more than 12 years. The gun shop will be a part-time business venture for him.

Catts says "Sussex County -- of which West Rehoboth is a part -- is home to many sportsmen who enjoy the outdoors and hunting and shooting sports. In addition, many people -- the county sheriff included -- believe that police protection is not all that it could be in the county."

"Federally licensed and regulated businesses selling firearms serve the needs of both sportsmen and law abiding residents in a manner conforming to all federal, state, and local laws," he states. "The marketplace determines the demand for such lawful businesses as it does for all other forms of commerce."

"The concerns of the West Rehoboth community are important," Catts continues, "because those concerns reflect the thoughts of many -- but not all -- residents in the area. However, the citizens of West Rehoboth as well as the other law-abiding residents of Sussex County who wish to enjoy hunting and protect themselves and their families and who will be served by my gun shop are entitled to enjoy the free exercise of their Second Amendment rights as much as anyone else."

Some West Rehoboth stakeholders have expressed concern. "What could this possibly do to enhance the quality of life in the neighborhood?" asks West Rehoboth property owner and Baltimore real estate agent, Robert Paul.

Also expressing his concern regarding the new gun shop is Kevin McKinney. He is the program director for the Collation for West Rehoboth's new vitalization program. "We're on our way to a bright future that does not include gun shops," he states.

McKinney says his organization is concerned about having a gun shop in the area with the current crime problems. "We don't want firearms in that building [or] anything to do with firearms coming into our neighborhood," he adds. He charges that this business does not comply with the West Rehoboth revitalization plan.

"My shop will not in and of itself degrade the West Rehoboth neighborhood," Catts states. "It will not attract an undesirable criminal element because of the manner in which it will be operated and regulated. If anything, it will provide the residents of the area with a local business where they can legally buy, sell, and trade firearms in a federal and state licensed shop in accordance with all applicable laws."

His gun shop is in a warehouse shared by a group of photographers. One of the photographers, Marc Clery, says he is "concerned that firearms are going to be sold next to my studio (Studio Henlopen). I believe a gun shop in West Rehoboth isn't a positive addition to the community."

Catts says he has "met all county, state, and federal obligations," and would consider working with the community and their ideas and plan. He also points out that this property is commercially zoned and that the county has designated it for such use.

McKinney says legitimate gun buyers do not have him concerned. It is the possibility of gang violence, break-ins, and persons stealing weapons and attacking the neighborhood that has him on edge.

Catts says this was the first he had heard of any concerns about his new gun shop. He said he will be providing a service to the community. Effective July 1, Catts points out, Delaware House Bill 35 will become law.

"It is the most significant piece of legislation to be passed in Delaware in decades," he states. "It mandates that you will have to go through a FFL [federal firearms licensed] gun dealer to purchase a gun with few exceptions."

That is one reason he says he wanted to open this shop. He notes that there are no gun shops in the Rehoboth area. The nearest is Steele's Gun Shop on U.S. Route 9 west of Lewes. Catts says the market is not adequately served in the Rehoboth area.

Catts added that he had erected the sign because gun brokers require a marked storefront in order to conduct business with a dealer. Catts also stated he will have the proper precautions in place to secure any weapons that may be stored in the warehouse.



A woman was pinned by the right arm after this Honda Civic crashed into a parked RV on Coastal Highway. It happened around 6:20 p.m. Saturday.

Sgt. Paul Shavack, state police spokesman, said the 2001 Honda was driven by a 28-year-old man from New Castle, Delaware. For unknown reasons, he said, the Honda left the right side of northbound Coastal Highway at George Street striking the RV that was parked in a driveway.

A 27-year-old female passenger in the Honda, also from New Castle, was trapped for almost 30 minutes as rescue personnel removed her. She was taken to Beebe Hospital and admitted with non-life threatening injuries. The male driver was not injured.

The investigation continues. Coastal Highway was closed for about 90 minutes while the crash was investigated and cleared.

This has been the fifth serious accident on the "Forgotten Mile" since Memorial Day Weekend.



Around 11 a.m. Saturday, a dolphin beached itself south of the Henlopen Acres beach house. Lifeguards wrapped it in a beach towel and kept pouring water on it until volunteers from the MERR Institute could arrive.

Suzanne Thurman, MERR Institute executive director, says preliminary results indicate pneumonia as the cause of death.

The MERR Institute has investigated 10 bottlenose and two common dolphin deaths so far this year.



When a worker onboard a bulk carrier suffered a head injury Wednesday afternoon, it triggered a massive response, including both Delaware State Police medevac helicopters, the Delaware Air Rescue Team (DART), Slaughter Beach and Lewes fireboats and Sussex County EMS.

The call for assistance came just before 3:50 p.m. A worker onboard the Ocean Trader ore carrier was reported unconscious, says Robert McMahon, state police helicopter pilot. The ship was in the Big Stone Anchorage area of the Delaware Bay where tankers often anchor north of Lewes.

Delaware Trooper 2, shown here, landed on deck. The patient was treated on board and refused to leave the ship. Delaware rescue teams have been practicing for such water incidents for several years and are working with the Coast Guard to deliver rapid medical care.

Photo courtesy Capt. Ron Hagan, Trooper 4



There have been reports of new graffiti the past few weeks in the north end of Dewey Beach.

Among the most popular targets is this section of fencing along Coastal Highway between Saint Louis and Houston streets. Police noted new markings on Monday including orange, black and gold paint. Much of it appears to be illegible or gobbledygook.

Bandits have also tagged several more street signs and even the sidewalk is not off limits.



It is official! After much discussion and debate, the Garden of the Navigators was dedicated Sunday. The new park is at the west edge of Lake Gerar at 3rd Street and Olive Avenue in Rehoboth Beach. It celebrates Rehoboth Beach's sister city in Italy.

Officials from both cities spoke to several hundred visitors. Here is the dedication program.

This park is the complement to a park dedicated by Rehoboth Beach's sister city, Greve in Chianti, Italy on April 17, 2010. Here is the proclamation and letter from the Mayor of Greve. The two cities promise to foster contacts and cultural exchanges, historical, academic, artistic, culinary, human and economic relations.

In 2010, the Rehoboth Beach delegation visited this monument in Greve honoring Giovanni da Verrazzano, an explorer of the Atlantic coast, who has also been recognized in Rehoboth Beach with the monument at Olive Avenue at the beach. His legacy is what connects the two cities.

Photo courtesy Mayor of Greve in Chianti, Alberto Bencistà

In an e-mail translated by Italian journalist Elizabeth Bernardini, the Mayor of Greve in Chianti, Alberto Bencistà, said the City of Rehoboth Beach had contacted his city about the role of navigator Giovanni da Verrazzano, "who on the road to the Bay of New York, has made a halt on the beaches of this seaside town today: In 2008, the Mayor of Rehoboth Beach and Provinci of Florence had participated the inauguration of a monument that remembered this moment in history, built right on the beach of Rehoboth Beach [the one on Olive Avenue shown below]. It was therefore important for them to put together a solid twinning, based on the figure of Giovanni da Verrazzano our illustrious countryman. Important for this report even the existence of Castello di Verrazzano, home of John, now farm and farm, owned by the family Cappellini, who supports the initiatives."

The Garden of the Navigators of Greve in Chianti was designed by architect Ray Zebrowski, who also designed the Rehoboth Beach park. Plans for both parks are on the RPZ Designs website.

Greve also has a similar sister city relationship with Sonoma, California, which has five other sister cities!

After the dedication, across the street, Bad Hair Day marked its 20th anniversary with an open block party, inviting attendees from the park dedication.

Congratulations Bad Hair Day!



Martin & Eileen Clark had the replica of the Paynter Studio built on the couple's property on Sussex Street to help raise funds for the Rehoboth Art League.

Clark said the house was about 3000 pounds. So they decided to haul half by flatbed truck directly to the Rehoboth Art League. The other half was taken to a barge and used for the ceremonial flotilla along the canal this past Friday, for the RAL Diamond Celebration.

Coastal Towing was among those companies volunteering to assist in the event.

The house is a scale-size replica of the Paynter Studio which Clark says would make a good playhouse.

It will remain on display at the Rehoboth Art League while up to 500 $100 raffle tickets are sold. About this time next year, Clark says the winner will be chosen and the house will be moved once again.

Clark says "it is the celebration of a real jewel in our area, the Rehoboth Art League." For more details, see the league's Website.



One of the best known personalities in Rehoboth Beach celebrated her 50th birthday this past Wednesday. But who would have guessed she is that old, had she not given us a clue?

Birthdays have a special significance especially to those, like Blackman, who have survived breast cancer and chemotherapy.

Photo courtesy Jason F Colflesh






SERIOUS WEEKEND ACCIDENTS WITH BICYCLIST KILLED--- It was yet another dangerous weekend on Sussex County roads:

Fri. 4:40 p.m. --- A bicyclist was killed on the northbound lanes of Coastal Highway south of the Indian River Inlet. Police say the bicyclist was at fault. See this Delaware1059 article for details.

Fri. 9:20 p.m. --- A 16-year-old female was briefly unresponsive, then combative with a possible head injury, after a head-on crash near Lighthouse and Zion Church roads in the Selbyville area. She was taken to Peninsula Regional Medical Center.

Sun. 1:50 a.m. --- A female motorcyclist suffered a serious leg injury after crashing into a guardrail near Sweet Briar and Pinetown roads. She wore no helmet and one report suggested she had been drinking.

WOMAN STABBED MULTIPLE TIMES/ FLOWN TO TRAUMA CENTER--- A woman was seriously stabbed about seven times Saturday night. It was reported around 10:45 p.m. on Lighthouse Road in the Selbyville area. She was flown by helicopter to Peninsula Regional Medical Center.

OCEAN CITY BEACH PATROL GUARDS FIND SUSPICIOUS PACKAGE--- Around 6 p.m. Friday, two OCBP sergeants were setting up an after-hours one-mile swim when a suspicious item was brought to their attention. It "was a strange box with a dial sitting on a wooded bench," says Kristin Joson, OCBP public information coordinator. It "definitely looked suspicious so the bomb squad was called in with a robot to investigate. The robot poked and prodded and actually knocked it off the bench." When nothing happened, she says one of the bomb technicians put on a specialized protective helmet and investigated further. "What they found out is that it was an old speaker type object with a dial from an old ship... it was just very odd that it was placed on a wooden bench. It really looked out of place," she noted.

OCEAN CITY GARBAGE TRUCK FALLS FROM LIFT--- The Ocean City fire department was called to assist crews at the city's service center on 65th Street after a front-end garbage truck fell from the lift around 9:30 a.m. Friday. Two rescue trucks and a heavy-duty commercial wrecker were requested to help stabilize the truck. There were no injuries.



24 best boardwalks for food in America (Rehoboth, Bethany, OC in top 24)

The best quick trips away from D.C. (Rehoboth makes DCist.com list)

Piping plover chicks hatch at Gordons Pond

Rehoboth to enter in new agreement for Deauville Beach

Rehoboth court clerk to fill alderman role

Dewey rethinks Junebug program

Supreme Court clears Dewey mayor of ethics violations

Commission rejects proposal to allow Dewey Beer Company

Worcester County Health Department investigates rabid raccoon situation in Ocean City

National Mosquito Control Awareness Week, June 23-29



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