WEEKEND #5, 2021
Rehoboth Beach, Delaware
BACKING THE BLUE, ONE STRIPE AT A TIME
An informal group of volunteers, known as the Blue Line Bandits, started showing its appreciation to Delaware police last month. The group's mission, says John "Plunger" Peterson, one of its four founding members, is to "hit" every law enforcement agency in the state with some sort of blue lines in visual support of the police.
Police officers risk their lives every day to keep us safe and what they do and see on a daily basis takes a physical and mental toll on them, Peterson says. "Add the constant criticism and attacks on their ethics by the mainstream media, failures of the justice system and more and more violent crimes, they need to know they are not forgotten," he adds.
Peterson says he and his group of volunteers, including Susanne Whitney, Jennifer Rambo, Dan Kapitanic and Jon Boone, decided they "needed to do something... something that would show all of law enforcement that their sacrifice to their communities is not taken for granted." The three men in his group all have experience in the building trade, "so we know how to layout a line," he explains.
The group's first "hit" was to tape a blue line in front of the Delaware Attorney General's offices in Dover last summer. But it started to peel so they decided they wanted to clean it up and make it more permanent this June.
"We went somewhat dormant during that pandemic," Peterson states, "however, Cpl. Keith Heacook's murder ignited a fire under us. Starting in mid-May, we have now 'hit' six local Delaware departments in Sussex and Kent counties."
He says the group's goal is to contact every law enforcement agency in Delaware and offer them something, a blue line on the door, a blue stop line, a blue line at the officers' entrance, etc. So far he says he has not heard "no" from any department he contacted. The stripe on the road in front of the AG's office is the only one they did without asking for permission, he points out.
In addition to the Attorney General's office, the group has blue striped police departments in Delmar, Harrington, Rehoboth, Lewes, Georgetown and Camden.
Peterson is a licensed master plumber who owned a plumbing contracting firm in Washington, D.C. for 30 years. He sold his business in 2014 but still holds five of his master plumbing licenses. He now volunteers his time between the Lewes Fire Department and the Delaware Patriot Guard.
Photos courtesy John Peterson
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THE SINGLE-SPACE PARKING METER IS HISTORY
The parking permit could be next!
Visitors this coming holiday might notice something different about parking in downtown Rehoboth Beach. Gone are the days when you get out of your car and pay the meter at the head of the space. The city is now using centralized parking kiosks for motorists to pay for parking in all of the traditional "parking meter" areas. Three years ago the city started replacing the single-head meters on the side streets with these multi-space parking kiosks.
The city utilizes a combination of pay-by-space, pay-and-display and pay-by-plate parking options that require payment at a kiosk with quarters or credit cards if not paid via ParkMobile, says Evan Miller, the city's projects coordinator.
Pay-by-space requires payment using a space number that is found within the parking space. This is what is used on Rehoboth Avenue and Grenoble Place, where the technology was initially tested.
Pay-and-display requires payment and display of the receipt on the dash of the vehicle. If paying via ParkMobile, a license plate number is entered. This form of parking payment is used now in the Grove Park parking lot and at the Convention Center parking lot.
Pay-by-plate requires payment using the vehicle's license plate (all letters and numbers on the license plate must be entered). This system is used at the other "metered" parking areas (which is not the same as the permit parking areas).
Pay-by-space and pay-and-display are enforced by Parking Department personnel who patrol on foot. But on the back streets, where parking meters had existed for decades, parking is now enforced using license-plate reader technology that has been installed in two of the Parking Department's cars. That is why the pay-by-plate method of parking payment is used here. This type of enforcement works on the back streets but is not considered appropriate for congested Rehoboth Avenue.
Miller says the city has a total of about 2,200 "metered" parking spaces which includes on-street and parking lots. But he notes that an official count has not been conducted recently.
The virtual parking permit is something the city is studying for the future. "The goal would be to utilize a virtual permit system for both residents and visitors whereby license plate numbers would become the parking 'permit,'" Miller explains. With residential permits, residents could apply for parking permits online from any device – smartphone, tablet or computer – while city staff reviews documentation and evaluates applications in real-time.
Once approved, residents are notified and can acquire their virtual permits immediately, after which they could easily purchase more if need be. They can also update their vehicle information from the same mobile-friendly web application.
Visitors would also be able to purchase parking permits online from any device; however, several permit options would be available, including daily, weekly and seasonal permits. No application or documentation would need to be submitted or reviewed by city staff. The placards hanging from rearview mirrors and windshield stickers could then be eliminated.
"The goal," Miller says, "would be to phase out all stickers and placards so the permit system is entirely virtual and enforced through license plate recognition... This is a long-term goal and there remain many logistics and details to be worked out." He says the phase-out of parking permits could happen within the next five years but it "depends on the appetite of the commissioners," he added. Presumably this enforcement would be done by auto and not by bicycle.
Miller says the city generates nearly 25 percent of its revenue from parking and parking fines.
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OFFICIALS STRESS PEDESTRIAN, BICYCLIST SAFETY AT LOCAL EVENTS
Ten pedestrians or bicyclists have been killed on Coastal Highway between Lewes and Fenwick Island during the past three years and nearly 70 have been injured according to Cynthia Cavett from the Delaware Office of Highway Safety. As a result, state and local officials met last Tuesday morning in Dewey Beach to get out the word on the state's latest pedestrian crossing device, the rectangular rapid flashing beacons (RRFB).
RRFBs are specially equipped crosswalks that feature the familiar rectangular pedestrian crossing sign combined with yellow beacons that flash for one minute after pedestrians press the button.
Studies have shown nationally that these rapid flash beacons can increase motorist compliance by more than 40 percent, says C.R. McLeod, DelDOT's community relations director. "We are continuing to see far too many incidents happen here in our beach resort areas over the past several years," he told reporters. Read more on WGMD.com.
This past Friday, officials cut the ribbon on the Junction and Breakwater Pathway Rehoboth Beach Extension. This event marked the completion of the bicycle connection into Rehoboth Beach from the Junction and Breakwater Pathway network. The $513,000 project included the connection of a 10-foot-wide asphalt trail from Canal Street to Rehoboth Avenue and the development of a two-way buffered bicycle lane along Rehoboth Avenue to Grove Park within the city.
Shown at the ribbon cutting are Rehoboth Beach Mayor Stan Mills, members of Sussex Cyclists, Comm. Richard Byrne, Senator Ernesto Lopez, Rep. Peter Schwartzkopf, U.S. Senator Tom Carper, DelDOT Secretary Nicole Majeski, Comm. Patrick Gossett and Comm. Jay Lagree.
This is the final link to the approximately 14-plus mile Junction and Breakwater Pathway that follows a section of the former Penn Central Railroad. The extension makes it possible for bicyclists and pedestrians to travel more safely between Rehoboth and Lewes.
The city has an agreement with the state to take care of day-to-day maintenance of the trail extension to Church Street including snow removal, trash collection and grass cutting, says Kevin Williams, Rehoboth Beach Public Works director. The city is not receiving any state funds for this maintenance, he added.
Last Thursday, the first bicycle safety checkpoint returned on Coastal Highway at the Royal Farms outside of Rehoboth. One more is planned this Thursday, July 1, at the same location.
More checkpoints may be planned depending on the success of these two.
2 INJURED IN HIGH-IMPACT CRASH ON LAUREL STREET
Rehoboth Beach police received several calls when the driver of the car on the left crashed at high speed into two others parked in the third block of Laurel Street around 1:10 a.m. this past Sunday.
Amazingly, the man driving the car and his female passenger appeared to suffer only minor injuries. They are both in their 20's. Ambulances took both of them to the hospital.
Plastic car parts and broken glass created a significant debris field.
No word yet from police on any charges.
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WOMAN INJURED AFTER FALL FROM SKATEBOARD, FLOWN TO TRAUMA CENTER
An approximately 20-year-old woman had been riding what was described as a motorized skateboard when she fell and struck her head. It happened just before 1 p.m. last Monday on Bayard Avenue at Rodney Street in downtown Rehoboth Beach.
She was originally described as unconscious, then conscious but confused.
As a result, the state police helicopter, Trooper 2, landed here at the Rehoboth Beach Elementary School to fly her to a trauma center.
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PLANE LANDS IN SINEPUXENT BAY OFF O.C. AIRPORT
The pilot and four skydiver passengers in this single-engine plane are lucky to be alive. According to The Dispatch, this is one of the airplanes used by Skydive Ocean City. Around 1:30 p.m. this past Sunday, the plane was at 5,000 feet when it experienced engine failure. The plane did not make it back to the runway and landed in the Sinepuxent Bay, where boaters quickly came to assist.
Photo courtesy Cesar Campos, Campos Media
A slightly different account of what happened was reported in this Maryland State Police news release. MSP identifies the pilot of the plane as Matthew Cortigiani, 25, of Utah.
Initially all five had declined an ambulance to the hospital, but eventually one of them was taken.
Photo courtesy Ocean City Fire Dept.
According to an FAA spokesperson, the plane's registration number is N5324B which is a 1956 Cessna 182 belonging to Plane Jane, Inc. of Berlin.
2 FIREFIGHTERS INJURED IN WEST O.C. BLAZE
Just before 2 a.m. this past Tuesday, firefighters responded to a house fire in the 12000 block of South Harbor Road in West Ocean City. Fire had engulfed a single-story house with a large attached garage. Two firefighters suffered non-life threatening injuries during the fire.
Screenshot courtesy Stephen Manuel
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REHOBOTH BEACH MUSEUM PAYS TRIBUTE TO BLACKMAN
Cheryl Blackman, one of those people who made Rehoboth, Rehoboth, will be recognized in July with an exhibition in her honor at the Rehoboth Beach Museum. Here she was on the boardwalk during her 50th birthday.
Blackman was known for her colorful costumes and active fundraising efforts along Rehoboth Avenue and the boardwalk. Please see the Rehoboth Beach Museum website for info.
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COASTAL MOMENTS ON DISPLAY AT THE PINES
It's hard to believe that Jim Kemp has only been painting since he retired a couple of years ago. His latest exhibition, "Coastal Moments," which consists mostly of his landscapes and some figurative work, is featured this summer in the main dining room of The Pines Rehoboth Beach.
Kemp is a daily painter who is drawn to local scenes throughout the coastal Delaware area, including the beautiful beaches, marshlands and state parks where there are lots of opportunities to capture sunrises and sunsets. "When people see my work I want it to feel familiar to them or to be a place they would want to visit if it isn't," he explains.
He hopes those visiting The Pines for their full farm-to-table menu and crafty cocktails will feel more at home when surrounded by his 17 paintings of local area scenes and moments currently on display.
Kemp paints primarily in his home studio but started to experiment with painting en plein air over the past several months, primarily for quick studies to support his studio work.
Kemp is an old-fashioned brush oil painter who sometimes uses a palette knife to create more drama or texture in his work. He paints with oil because he likes the creaminess and the ability to work with it for a longer period of time before drying. He builds his painting starting with thin layers first and then adds slightly thicker layers to reduce muddiness but to also provide more depth in his work.
Although he has no formal training, Kemp says he took a few courses over the past two years at the Rehoboth Art League, has studied numerous YouTube art videos and books, and has taken a handful of online painting courses. He enjoys painting and he does it every day. "Art is a skill," he points out, "the more you paint the better you improve your art skills! Hopefully!"
Photos courtesy Jim Kemp
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PHOTOS OF THE WEEK
Fox near Gordon's Pond by Rick Tananis...
Paddling in "paradise" by Pond (Savages Ditch in Rehoboth Bay) by Diane Scobey...
Dark skies over ocean by Rick Tananis...
MERR REPORT--- Suzanne Thurman from the MERR Institute reports that last week her organization investigated the deaths of two loggerhead sea turtles, one at Broadkill and one at Bennett's Pier. No cause of death had been determined.
OCBP, EMS, RESUSCITATE 2 THIS PAST WEEK--- Lifeguards and medics in Ocean City have had good luck this past week resuscitating visitors who collapsed on the beach in cardiac arrest. Around 12:30 p.m. last Wednesday, a 46-year-old man was found pulseless off 145th Street where he had been standing in the ocean with his son and collapsed. An AED was applied; he regained a pulse and was taken to a hospital. Around noon on Sunday, a woman in her 60's collapsed in cardiac arrest off 119th Street. Rescuers performed CPR until she too regained a pulse. She was taken to the hospital via a helicopter that landed at Northside Park.
MAN FLOWN TO TRAUMA CENTER AFTER FALL FROM SCOOTER IN LEWES--- A man fell from his scooter and struck his head on the curb near the Cape Henlopen High School on Kings Highway around 3:20 p.m. Sunday. He was not alert and was flown to a trauma center for treatment.
MAN FOUND DEAD IN AUTO--- A man was found dead in an auto on Cape Drive-North in Henlopen Landing, west of Lewes, around 7:45 a.m. Sunday. He appeared to have been there for several days. He was pronounced dead at the scene and the medical examiner is investigating.
DEATH INVESTIGATION AT DEWEY HOTEL--- A 49-year-old man was found in cardiac arrest around 8:40 p.m. on Sunday at Beach House Dewey on Dagsworthy Street. First responders attempted CPR but were unsuccessful. He was pronounced dead at the scene. The medical examiner is investigating.
WOMAN FLOWN TO TRAUMA CENTER AFTER FALL FROM GOLF CART IN WEST O.C.--- A 46-year-old woman fell from a golf cart at Castaways Campground in West Ocean City around 3:30 p.m. last Friday. She was unconscious and bleeding from the back of her head when she was flown to a trauma center.
OCEAN CITY'S 9-1-1 CENTER POWER WOES--- Ocean City's 9-1-1 center suffered a couple of power interruptions late Friday and early Saturday which forced dispatchers to rely on pen and paper. When it started around 11:35 p.m., the dispatchers were left without working computers when the power returned. They asked officers to curtail unnecessary traffic and pedestrian stops. The dispatch center lost power a second time around 1:30 a.m.
DELDOT COLLECTING BIKES FOR FOREIGN STUDENT PROGRAM--- The DelDOT bicycle program in the Rehoboth Beach and Lewes area lends, repairs and maintains bikes for foreign students. The program is in need of donated bikes. The program will accept all types of bikes but not smaller than 24 inch. The program provides a safe and reliable means of transportation for the students, which in turn supports the local businesses that hire them. DelDOT can pick up the bikes at your location or you can drop them off at the bicycle repair garage at the Park and Ride behind the Rehoboth Fresh Market. The repair garage is staffed on Monday and Friday from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. and on Wednesday from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. Please email John Fiori for more info.
REHOBOTH BEACH HOMEOWNERS' ASSOC. CANDIDATE FORUM SET FOR JULY 17--- This year's candidate forum will be before a live audience starting at 10 a.m. on Saturday, July 17, at CAMP Rehoboth. The RBHA is soliciting questions in advance, which will be presented to the candidates by David Mariner and Mark Saunders, RBHA president. The forum will be live-streamed and recorded.
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