WEEKEND #9, 2021

Rehoboth Beach, Delaware

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A Dewey Beach police officer was punched unconscious this past Saturday while trying to apprehend a man who allegedly assaulted a member of the security staff at The Starboard. When word got out that an officer was down, police from across Sussex County came to assist.

Police say the suspect, Brandon T. Lewis, had been "acting disorderly" at The Starboard and was removed by the staff. While being escorted from the property he assaulted a security staffer and fled south on Coastal Highway around 8:20 p.m.

The Dewey officer noticed Lewis fleeing as he was summoned by the staff members. While attempting to detain Lewis for the assault that occurred at The Starboard, a foot chase ensued which ended here at the intersection of Bellevue Street and Coastal Highway. An off-duty police officer from New Castle County came to assist the Dewey officer when he noticed Lewis was resisting.

During the struggle two unknown men pulled the off-duty officer from the altercation and moments later Lewis punch the Dewey officer in the head rendering him unconscious, police said. The off-duty officer assisted by a concerned citizen reengaged Lewis and was able to restrain him until additional officers arrived.

Both the Dewey officer and the off-duty officer were taken to the hospital for their injuries. The Dewey officer was admitted with a head injury. He is in stable condition. The off-duty officer was treated for cuts to his face and later released.

Photo courtesy Dewey Beach PD

Lewis was also taken to the hospital with minor injuries and was released in police custody. He was arraigned at the Justice of the Peace Court #3 and was being held at the Sussex Correctional Institution on a $35,000 bail. He faces charges of 2nd-degree assault on a law enforcement officer, resisting arrest with force or violence, criminal mischief and disorderly conduct.


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Dr. Fauci plush figure hangs from a surgical mask in Zelky's claw machine

In regard to the claw machine controversy, it has now become a matter of First Amendment rights, says Matt Weiner, manager of the three Zelky's arcades on the Rehoboth Beach boardwalk. At the start of the summer season, he says he filled one of the claw machines on the boardwalk with Trump, Fauci and Reagan dolls. A Dr. Fauci doll was left dangling from a surgical mask. "Originally I was going to put the mask over his face," Weiner says, "but the mask was too big... but I still wanted to hang a mask with him. It's Dr. Fauci's quintessential accessory."

Somebody noticed Dr. Fauci was left hanging from a surgical mask, alerted the media and WBOC-TV reported on it this past Tuesday after reporter Cassie Semyon posted it to Facebook last Monday. The News Journal picked up the story by Thursday and followed it up with this lengthy editorial written by two Southern Delaware Alliance for Racial Justice members on Friday.

Reporters called Rehoboth Beach city hall inquiring about the legality, and one woman even called the police last Wednesday seeking law enforcement action. The News Journal quoted Lynne Coan, city spokeswoman, stating that this was a "freedom of speech issue" that does not involve the city. Another woman demanded that the FBI and CIA be alerted to Weiner's claw machine in a post on the liberal Facebook group, The Even More Patriotic Patriots For Delaware.

"The original news story by WBOC put words in my mouth which were carried on to all other publications," Weiner said, adding that he never said he "has no plans to remove the doll." He says the reporter did not ask him that question. He noted that they do switch prizes regularly based on available stock and popularity. He also says the WBOC news crew declined to include different and supportive viewpoints expressed by other passers-by. He points out that other news sites such as Newsbreak are receiving comments in support of Zelky's and the display.

Weiner disagrees with the various complaints and says people have "made this into a big thing that's really just a stuffed toy in a claw machine... I almost find it comical that this is what is newsworthy; it is a stuffed toy in a crane machine on the boardwalk," he added. "The majority of people pass by the machine without being bothered by it; in fact, the response has been overwhelmingly positive in the arcade, and the claw machine has been even more popular within the last week since the story ran," he added.


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One of Matt Weiner's Zelky's arcades was the victim of a flimflam artist this past Monday, and he suspects other businesses may have been scammed by the same suspect as well.

Weiner says this man wearing a real Rolex came to one of his employees last Monday seeking change for $400 he provided in eight $50 bills. The suspect asked for $20 bills but as he received the cash, he asked the clerk immediately if he could get $10 bills instead. After carefully watching the surveillance video, Weiner says the man folds back half of the cash, distracts the employee with other questions about $10 swipe cards, takes the money and smoothly gives back half of what he had just received as seen in the above sceenshot.

He is slick and obviously a professional con artist, Weiner said, after watching the video several times. Once his employee notified him of the scam, they tracked him down in Funland where police made the arrest. Weiner says the man had several wads of cash on him which he suspects likely came from other businesses in the area. So he is warning business owners who may have come up short last Monday to check if this man was in their shops. He is a 28-year-old with an accent and was accompanied by a woman.

No word yet from police on this case.

Photo courtesy Zelky's


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Last Sunday evening state police bomb techs investigated several pipe bombs that were reportedly recovered in a sack at Camelot Meadows outside Rehoboth. So far all that the state police have said about that case is that bomb techs responded to the scene to "render the pipe bombs safe." That case has been turned over to the Fire Marshal's Office for further investigation.

Photo courtesy Delaware State Police

Last Monday, a trooper spotted a man apparently related to that case but police have not yet confirmed his connection. They ended up stopping him on Coastal Highway north of Milton and arresting him without incident. Sr. Cpl. Heather Pepper, state police spokeswoman, says the troopers ended up charging that man, Douglas R. Deangelis, 55, of Clayton, with felonies for possession of a destructive weapon including three counts for pipe bombs and another count for a sawed-off shotgun. The charges, however, stem from a previous incident that occurred on June 30, she noted. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives is also investigating.


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This is one of those things one would probably never expect to happen in the middle of the day with no severe weather. The arm on this crossing guard at the Rehoboth Avenue drawbridge mysteriously bent over just before 3:30 p.m. last Monday.

"Due to a component failure; the drawbridge arm failed," says Louise A. Holt, a DelDOT spokesperson.

The arm partially blocked Canal Street. Police placed traffic cones around the arm while DelDOT crews headed to town to make repairs.


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With less than 20 days until election day, the four candidates for Rehoboth Beach commissioner are not wasting opportunities to meet voters.

Comm. Dick Byrne and Rachel Macha attended a meet-and-greet this past Saturday at the beautiful home of Jen Rubenstein and Diane Scobey on Henlopen Avenue.

Discussion topics included infrastructure projects, LLCs unable to vote, parking, why the city didn't include a parking garage when city hall was built and Clear Space.

Comm. Byrne expressed his accomplishments as a commissioner, especially the work of the Environment Committee he created and chairs, the upgraded pedestrian safety additions and his ability to secure outside financial resources for the city.

Former Comm. Toni Sharp was out Sunday morning doing some old-fashioned canvassing on Scarborough Avenue. Here she is talking with voters Dutch Kelley, Loren Friedman and Patricia Rodriquez.

"I'm hearing a lot about parking, trash/recycling, and that residents are concerned about how the city is spending their tax dollars," Sharp says.

No campaign photos or news from Tim Bennett this past week. The election is Saturday, August 14. For info, see the city's website.

Photos courtesy the candidates


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"I was painting more than I ever painted in my life," says Caroline Huff, whose latest exhibition "Summer Dreams" opened this past Friday at Gallery 50. "I have the pandemic to thank for that... I was ashamed that I was not suffering as much as other people because I went down to my studio, Alexa was reading books to me, and I am painting away in La-La Land and I just kept going," she said. Here Huff is on the left with Brenda Robertson at her opening reception.

Huff had traveled to Greece yearly for more than 30 years and this has inspired her artwork. She often goes through her slides and combines elements from different scenes into the same painting, like these.

She loves water so as a result, she paints lots of boats. She might take a boat or figure from one scene and magically insert it on another.

These paintings are all acrylic on canvas.

This exhibition will be on display in the gallery through August 11. For info see the Gallery 50 website.



The Rehoboth Art League opened its 83rd Annual Members' Fine Art Exhibition this past Friday. "We had so many people come down here; it's nice to have them back here at the Art League after the past year. The Members' Fine Art show always draws a crowd," says Nick Serratore, RAL exhibitions director.

"The caliber of work is very exceptional," Serratore said about this show. "I think each piece really stands out on its own. You can see that the artists have taken their time with painting and executing and it just shows a mastery of their skill of the medium," he pointed out. Each member is allowed to submit one work.

Serratore said he thinks the artists are "starting to explore more of the abstract. I have seen artists here, and I know their work, usually who were painting in a traditional style but you see them evolving or going in different avenues which is very exciting... they are thinking outside the box and they are getting out of their comfort zone and they are pushing the envelope. They are pushing their creativity."

RAL also has two other exciting exhibitions that opened this past Friday: Melissa May who is a fiber artist whose works are on display in the Homestead and last year's first-place winner of the Members' Fine Art Exhibition, John Clendening, who has a sole exhibition in the Ventures Gallery, Experiencing America's Great Outdoors.

The three shows run through August 22 and will be up during the RAL outdoor show in the first two weekends of August.


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Amazing clouds by Rick Tananis...

Rehoboth sunrise by Rick Tananis...




MERR REPORT--- Suzanne Thurman from the MERR Institute says that last week her organization had a deceased sea turtle at Indian River inlet but no other incidents to report.


COUNTERFEIT $20s REPORTED BY REHOBOTH MERCHANT--- A business on the Rehoboth boardwalk reported taking in several counterfeit $20 bills this past Saturday night. The bills share the same two serial numbers and were high quality counterfeits.


WOMAN COLLAPSES AT BANDSTAND; REVIVED--- A woman in her 20's collapsed near the Rehoboth Beach Bandstand around 9:14 p.m. Sunday. The initial reports suggested she was in cardiac arrest and suffering from an opioid overdose. She was revived after first responders connected her to an AED and administered Narcan.


REHOBOTH POLICE INVESTIGATE BUSTED AUTO WINDOWS--- Rehoboth Beach police had two reports on Saturday of auto windows found busted on vehicles. One was in the ocean block of Lake Avenue and the other was on King Charles Avenue near Stockley Street. No word yet from police on what they found.


MAN INJURED WHEN BEER KEG EXPLODED--- A man was taken to the hospital last Thursday after a beer keg exploded and the top struck him in the face just before 2 p.m. at a business on Rehoboth Avenue. He suffered an injury to his jaw, chin and teeth.



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