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WEEKEND #08, 2011

(Mid-Season Report)

Rehoboth Beach, Delaware



Imagine having purchased lakefront property only to watch the lake gradually drain and disappear as mud and swamp grass slowly take its place? That is happening to a portion of Silver Lake in Rehoboth Beach, and property owners are frustrated.

A portion of the lake is not as silver as it once was, and neighbors are signing a petition seeking a quick resolution.

Mike Palmer, who owns a home on the lake's west edge off Stockley Street, says he suspects the problem is caused by increased sediment over the years, and the fact that someone repeatedly dismantles the spillway drainage system on the east end of the lake, which leads to the ocean.

The spillway is critical to the lake's water level, as it allows water above a certain level to drain from the lake into the ocean. The spillway's opening is on the east edge of the lake at the foot of Sand Dune Drive under the gazebo (shown below). The grate had boards which slid across its front that allowed the level to be set precisely. But the left half of a metal frame that held the boards to the grate is missing, along with the boards that once controlled the flow.

With those boards gone, the lake drains to the grate's concrete base. So as the water drains from the lake, the shallow portion, which is on the west side, starts to dry, and there is the problem.

Palmer says he suspects somebody intentionally dismantled the drainage system because he has heard homeowners on the lake's east side claim the water levels were causing erosion and basement damage.

The Save Our Lakes Alliance 3 (SOLA3) has been active protecting the area's three lakes. SOLA3 was founded in 2004 with the mission to preserve, maintain and protect Lake Gerar, Silver Lake and Lake Comegys.

About four years ago, Sallie H. Forman, SOLA3 president, says DNREC replaced the original spillway at SOLA3's request and installed a better designed system that allowed for an adjustable water level. A water level that was agreeable to the west end and east end of the lake was established and a volunteer on Queen Street monitored the spillway to keep the agreed-to level until he died two years later.

Shortly thereafter Forman said she was informed that the boards setting the level for the spillway drain were later dismantled with the approval of the City of Rehoboth Beach and DNREC because of fears of flooding as a Nor'easter approached.

Jurisdiction at the lake is complicated because it is partly within Rehoboth Beach, Dewey Beach and unincorporated areas of Sussex County.

"It seems to me like a simple issue that has gotten overly complicated," Palmer states. "There's talk of dredging the west end, and that would be great. But in the meantime, we are losing the west end of Silver Lake because the spillway has been dismantled. Don't get me wrong, I certainly don't want anyone getting water in their basement, but since when is the solution to wet basements draining the adjoining lake?"

Palmer took this photo of Silver Lake behind his house during the drought earlier this month. Grasses and mud emerged in the area that was typically under water. With the heavy rain last week, much of this area is once again submerged until the water level drops.

"There is a lot of history here and problems with the west end of the lake have been going on for many years even before the current episodes," writes Tom Zellers, Country Club Estates Property Owners Association president.

"It's been a difficult problem to address because of jurisdictions, but I agree that it has worsened over the past few years, especially with the change in the spillway situation," he adds. "If an agreed upon level can be established, it would keep some water in this [west] end and help eliminate the algae bloom and smell."

A petition is circulating calling for immediate action. The petition reads "In the last few years, we have seen a dramatic change in the health of the west end of the lake and the disappearance of the wildlife. The water level is at an all time low and the few remaining turtles are struggling to move through the mud, there are no fish. We understand that there are plans in place to dredge the lake; however, the situation is critical now. We are asking for an immediate short-term solution to increase the water level in the lake by stopping the outflow from the lake into the ocean."

For his neighbors, Zellers says, he thinks it is important that the task force continues to meet and that attention remain focused on finding both a short-term and long-term solution. "We would love to see it dredged," he adds, "but would be happy if the waters could be manipulated to allow an adequate amount to stay in the west end."

Upon receipt of several complaints of low water levels and environmental concerns at Silver Lake, DNREC says it is investigating. In a written response from DNREC's Division of Watershed Stewardship, Frank Piorko, division director, states that he and Chuck Williams, from the Shoreline and Waterway Management Section, met with several concerned residents earlier this month to discuss the options.

"The Division is working with other staff within the Department to research ownership and easement issues as well as previous efforts to manage the lake water level," Piorko writes. "A meeting will be scheduled in the next few weeks to discuss the sediment management and overall lake management with the residents as the review of existing information is complete," he added.

The last thing Forman says she wants to see is a civil war between the east and west. She says it is important that everyone be united and work together to solve the lake's problems. She added that even if the spillway was working properly, the water going to the west end would be negligible given the sediment shelf that has built up over decades from two five-foot storm drains.

SOLA3 is trying to keep everyone focused on sediment removal. Forman said it provides a permanent solution to deepen that end of the lake by three to four feet, not inches, and that the new Stormceptors installed at SOLA3's request will prevent future sediment build up.

In the SOLA3's spring newsletter Forman wrote at length about the issue. "Silver Lake, the largest of the three [lakes]," she writes, "suffers from major problems that include shallow water at the west end, frequent algae blooms, erosion, invasive species, pollution (caused by 40+ storm drains and runoff), reduced levels of oxygen that destroy the ability of sunlight to reach vital aquatic plants and cause regular fish kills, an ineffective spillway and violations of local, state and federal environmental laws/ordinances."

SOLA3 formed the Silver Lake Task Force after meeting with DNREC Secretary Collin O'Mara in May 2010. "It was agreed that the priority project is to remove layers of sediment that have accumulated for a century in the west end of Silver Lake, to increase depth… to at least 3 feet," Forman wrote.

Ideally, the state would fund the majority of the costs, she says, and SOLA3 will identify supplemental funding through grants, if necessary. "Once funding is available, the project would begin in late fall or early winter and should be completed in four months."

"The obvious benefits to homeowners," Forman writes, "are that deeper waterfront will replace existing mud flats, reducing the mosquito population; odor and health hazards should be eliminated; aquatic and bird life will enjoy a healthier habitat.

Please see the Spring 2011 newsletter on the SOLA3 Website for extensive details on the proposed dredging project.



A 78-year-old man was injured in the surf north of Tower Road in the Delaware Seashore State Park around 12:20 p.m. Saturday. He was the only surf injury to require a medevac this weekend.

He reportedly was thrown by a wave and landed on his back. He complained of pain between his shoulder blades and tingling in the legs.

A Rehoboth Beach ambulance crew took him to the elementary school where he was loaded on a state police helicopter for a flight to Christiana Hospital.



Rehoboth Beach police received a call around 10:20 a.m. Saturday. The dispatcher told responding officers that the caller said she was "being yelled at by a subject who is advising she took her parking spot."

The angry woman parked her silver Volvo SUV in the left lane of Rehoboth Avenue directly behind the people she accused of taking her parking space. Traffic was reduced to one lane across from Irish Eyes as she continued arguing and discussing the incident with police.

Police got the woman to drive away after several minutes of discussion.

Also Saturday, Rehoboth Beach police responded to another parking dispute just before 4 p.m. in front of Dunkin' Donuts. A person was accused of standing in a metered parking spot blocking anyone from trying to park there. This is prohibited by the city code. It was quickly resolved.



When the owner of this car returned to her vehicle around 4:50 p.m. Friday, she called Rehoboth Beach police. She had been parked on a parking permit area in the first block of Sussex Street.

A police officer came to assist. After several minutes, the occupants of the red car returned and moved it forward.



Jennifer and Rick Hayward joined Kelly and Nancy McAndrew on Queen Street in Rehoboth Beach to count dolphins from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. Saturday.

They were one of more than 30 sites along the Delaware shore where dolphins were being counted for the MERR Institute.

As of 10:50 a.m., they had no dolphin sightings.

Suzanne Thurman, MERR Institute executive director, says she plans to have the statewide totals out this week. The News Journal ran this article on Saturday about the annual dolphin count.


by Guillermo Silveira

Ward may give us a Gestural Reference or, with singing colors, a clever Ode to Haring, but nothing moves us better than his electric pop Blue Flower. This flower is not blue..., a lady said. Well, it happens to have yellow petals, and red in its center, while it gaily glows on a blue background, trapped in glass, like a triptych that fragments its own subject. Isn't art an intellectual game?

Ward, almost like a Zen master, uses tricks to make us ponder. Perhaps he wants us to come back to his art, to find the Balance Between, maybe to understand his vision of a Matrix, or what happens to him and the concepts he shares.

Texture is paramount in Ellinger's art. In Ruby Red Slipper, Windswept Fields of Fall or Connecting a vibrant textural game shows the art of painting calling for shapes within itself; Ward's smart and infinite search.

Intrinsic Balance by Ward Ellinger

An opening with Sondra Arkin surprising new mix media works is coming on August 13.

Visit Ward Ellinger Gallery at 39 Baltimore Avenue (CAMP Rehoboth Courtyard). Call 302-227-2710 or www.wardellinger.com.


by Guillermo Silveira

Behind horses Pacing, Racing, USA's Congress Aglow or the sky of M & Wisconsin in Georgetown, Washington D.C., emerge unconscious strokes and impressionist shapes of a young artist that remind us of Rilke's letters.

The painter is Eager to help human rights. Three controversial politicians, just three smaller portraits, give a good perspective. Fireworks, beach fun by our sweet Dolle's, Labor farewell during Poodle Beach drag volleyball, competitive guards, pictured below, or intriguing beach comers, are watched by perplex cows in structural pose.

Silveira talks art with Leonard.

We talk about humanitarian support and immigration law while vibrant Leonard's hand freshly appears in colorful shades behind his oils subjects. One can't wait to see young Alden painting for the sake of it, giving himself the right to create a new painting without subject or deconstructing contemporary figures.

We'll see it, this show is part of a sublime process that quotes Rainer Maria Rilke: "Let everything happen to you, beauty and terror, just keep going, no feeling is final."

Leonard's show runs through July 28 at Rehoboth Beach's Philip Morton Gallery at 47 Baltimore Avenue. View the preview on the gallery's Website.



MAN INJURED BY STINGRAY--- A 35-year-old man was fishing Tuesday when he had an encounter with a stingray. Around 2 p.m., he caught a large ray which impaled its tail into the man's right wrist. One EMS report said he was in "quite a bit of pain" with a "hole in his wrist" when taken to Beebe Hospital. It happened on the beach in the Cape Henlopen State Park on the Gordon's Pond side.


BEACH VISITORS SUFFER BURNED FEET--- Twice this past week, persons visiting the beach suffered burns so serious they had an ambulance take them for medical treatment.

The first case was reported around 2:10 p.m. Tuesday by Bethany Beach lifeguards on Cedarwood Street. A 63-year-old woman had been walking across the sand dunes when she noticed the burns. She was described as being in "a lot of pain" with burns and blisters to the bottom of her feet. She was not a known diabetic. An ambulance took her to Millville Medical Center.

A similar incident was reported around 1:45 p.m. Wednesday. A 78-year-old man suffered 1st- and 2nd-degree burns to the bottom of his feet in Dewey Beach. An ambulance took him to Beebe Hospital from McKinley Avenue.


ANOTHER UMBRELLA INJURY--- A 79-year-old woman suffered a deep cut to her lower right leg after she was struck by a flyaway beach umbrella. It happened around 2:20 p.m. Tuesday at the Sea Colony Annapolis House. An ambulance took her to Beebe Hospital. The cut was four or five inches long.


MAN STRUCK BY VEHICLE IN O.C., FLOWN TO TRAUMA CENTER--- A 34-year-old man was reported struck and found by rescuers under a vehicle on 123rd Street in Ocean City around 2 p.m. Friday. His injuries were not life threatening but he was flown by helicopter to a trauma center for treatment.


AIRPLANE PASSENGER IN CARDIAC ARREST AFTER LANDING AT EAGLE CREST--- Lewes firefighters and EMS personnel were summoned to a private hangar adjacent to Eagle Crest Airport in the 29500 block of Eagle Crest Road after an airplane landed around 10:40 a.m. Sunday. A 6-year-old male was in cardiac arrest onboard the aircraft. He was taken to Beebe Hospital.



Rehoboth Beach Commissioner Dennis Barbour withdraws from election (Friday)

Commissioner Dennis Barbour's withdrawal letter

Rehoboth businesses reminded sidewalk samples not allowed

Rehoboth Beach's Cheryl Blackman featured in Gannett newspapers

Suspects wanted for burglary from Purple Parrot (Rehoboth, last weekend)

Purple Parrot burglarized

Rehoboth Beach mayoral candidate McGlone talks about campaign on "Gaffney in the Morning"

WMDT-TV report claims controversy in Rehoboth Beach over changing facilities

WMDT-TV report says Rehoboth Beach business owners claim retaliation driving code violations

Bethany nixes underground power lines

Shipwrecks' impact on environment probed

3 accidents result in traffic mess on Route 90 (O.C., Friday night)

MD teen charged after crash at Routes 50 & 707 (W. O.C., Saturday)

National 9/11 memorial truck stops at Legion Post 28 (Oak Orchard, Saturday)

Suspected drug dealer arrested after running over officer (O.C., early Saturday)

Ocean City & Rehoboth Boardwalks in National Geographic's Top 10

Rehoboth boardwalk ranked one of tops in country

Police release PHOTOS of items snagged by fisherman last Friday

Operator charged after fishing boat hits jetty in O.C. (from July 7)

Serial Peeping Tom arrested by Ocean City police (Tuesday)

DNREC enforcement officers issue numerous citations

Delaware's game warden celebrates a century of service (DNREC)

Piping plover chicks hatching, fledging at Cape Henlopen

Bystander CPR and early defibrillation credited for reviving 3 in Sussex Co in past week

Simple etiquette key on crowded shore

Ocean temps edge averages

Watch for rip currents


Real-time ship plotter: http://henney.com/sp

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