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WEEKEND #11, 2010

Rehoboth Beach, Delaware



Mark Johnson and Joe Toy, two open-air evangelists, returned to Rehoboth Beach this past week, spreading the word of God and testing the First Amendment.

WGMD’s Dan Gaffney had interviewed one of the men two years ago, and they have been regular visitors for the past several seasons.

In 2008, Umbreen Bhatti, a staff attorney for the ACLU of Delaware, had provided these comments regarding limits for such free speech expressions. She also sent along this Right to Protest guidelines from the New Jersey ACLU.

The men set up their sketchboard Wednesday evening at the foot of Rehoboth Avenue at the boardwalk and were visited by police Chief Keith Banks.

The men commended the chief for his professionalism and thoughtfulness. They said they were under the impression that somebody complained to the city about their presentation from the previous night, but they were not discouraged.

Although both men have been performing on the Ocean City and Rehoboth Beach boardwalks for the past five years or so, they said they discussed several issues with the police chief.

They were told the city would like them to move to the bandstand, an area that has been designated by the city for solicitors. But Johnson says they are not selling anything, and their sermons would reach a smaller audience if they relocated. They were not moving.

They agreed that they could handout literature, but only if people wanted to accept it from them.

They also agreed not to use an amplification system, although, city officials were present when Representative Peter Schwartzkopf held this rally on July 14 and was allowed to use a sound system in the same area. Here is another example from the May 21, 2009 water fountain dedication. (Both photos courtesy Hoyte Decker).

The men had a cross, about five or six feet tall, and agreed not to use it on the boardwalk since it could interfere with pedestrians. They were considering erecting it along side the boardwalk at the sand dune.

In the future, to simplify matters, they said they would notify the city manager’s office when they planned to perform in town.

The city has an ordinance prohibiting signs on public property, but that applies specifically to advertising. They were not accepting money nor selling items. So they continued to use their paints and paintbrushes for creating their trademark "sketchboard sermons" on an easel.





Rehoboth Beach police investigated a graffiti attack which was reported around 11:20 a.m. Sunday.

Dr. Michael Trahos, property owner, provided these photos. He says the graffiti is on the rear of the parapet wall above Gus & Gus, Starkey’s and Tidal Raves 5 & 10 on the south boardwalk.

He says police told him that they had other graffiti incidents in Rehoboth and police "will investigate to see if the graffiti on our building matches graffiti found elsewhere."




Laser-pointer harassment has returned to Ocean City this summer in full force. It has been more than 10 years since the city had passed its first laser pointer ordinance.

Ocean City is showing it means business. The town council met Monday and passed emergency legislation that more aggressively targets those who target others using laser pointers. See this Daily Times article and Baltimore Sun article for more details.

This past week, Ocean City police have made three arrests -- including a juvenile, the first to be charged with possession -- and cited a fourth man for laser complaints.

Those charged are:

17-year-old boy, arrested at 11100 Coastal Hwy on Tuesday for Laser Pointers-prohibited.

Kalvin Donald Seamonson, 18, arrested at 1100 Coastal Hwy on Tuesday for Harassment by Laser Beam.

Mark Christopher Minker, 36, arrested at 2609 Baltimore Ave on Monday for Harassment by Laser Beam.

Mark William Jolly, 37, cited at 700 Atlantic Ave on Monday for Harassment by Laser Beam.



It may go down as the worst crime spree in Rehoboth Beach history. During an 18-day period several youths and young adults assaulted and robbed, or attempted to rob, five people in Rehoboth Beach.

While this might not be remarkable in a big city like Washington, Baltimore, Philadelphia or perhaps even Ocean City, in a small town like Rehoboth, where residents often leave doors unlocked and such crimes are rare, it was a shocker.

After the fifth assault this past week, Philadelphia's WCAU-TV sent a crew to town and aired this report and the Daily Times ran this article on the "rash of boardwalk assaults and robberies that shook this quiet resort town."

The big break came Wednesday when a state trooper, who had taken a report for a stolen Jeep, spotted that Jeep on Coastal Highway, gave chase and made arrests which linked back to the crew's last robbery.

The state police news releases and more details are on the wgmd.com Website.



A 62-year-old female pedestrian was injured around noon Friday after she was struck by this SUV on Rehoboth Avenue at the turn-around to the rear of the bandstand area.

She suffered a possible broken right wrist and a bruise on her head. The SUV was going an estimated 5 to 10 m.p.h.

On a related note, Delaware highway safety officials are warning pedestrians to exercise caution when walking or crossing roadways after a surge this year in fatal pedestrian accidents.


EMS response impacted by gridlock

Actual phrases officials used to describe Saturday's traffic mess on Rehoboth Avenue included "gridlock," "intersections are horrible," and "bumper to bumper."

The gridlock started around 4:30 p.m. and continued to around 6 p.m. Rehoboth Beach officers were assigned to the intersections of 1st and 2nd streets.

It was especially challenging for ambulance crews. One of them was summoned to the bandstand area for a heat-related medical emergency around 4:45 p.m. The ambulance became trapped and unable to move because, as the crew reported, "charter buses have got the circle completely destroyed."

That was followed minutes later by two back-to-back ambulance calls at beach patrol headquarters on Baltimore Avenue which required an ambulance from Lewes. The Lewes ambulance was told to go toward Dewey and come up 1st Street rather than take on Rehoboth Avenue.

As one police official observed, the traffic on Coastal Highway was moving fine. He said it was just the traffic signal affecting Rehoboth Avenue, and hoped DelDOT could help relieve the problem. But a discussion with the dispatcher suggested that from previous experience DelDOT is unable to make the timing changes.



It has been a slow season so far for the parking meter division catching vehicle owners who have accumulated enough in unpaid fines to qualify for towing.

But on Wednesday, the same ticket writer caught two in the early afternoon. The first was a Ford Expedition in the ocean block of Wilmington Avenue. It got towed.

The second vehicle was this Toyota Corolla in the second block of Rehoboth Avenue discovered around 2:25 p.m. The owner owed the city $485. She returned before a tow truck arrived and they gave her until 3 p.m. to pay by cash or certified check only. The meter repair truck was used to block her car in the parking space, so she could not flee. She told them to tow the car away.

But about six minutes later she decided to walk to the parking office, express her frustration and pay her fines, including a show-up fee for the towing company. She had also received yet another ticket for the expired meter.



Cheryl Blackman is now selling raffle tickets for the RB VFC campaign for a new Station 2, KINfolk, and the Beebe-Tunnell Cancer Center/Jimmy Valvano Foundation for Cancer Research. Look for her in local bars or at the Grotto Pizza on the north boardwalk.


Man on Jet Ski south of the Route 90 bridge in Ocean City Saturday.

Photo by Greg Guise



CHILD ACCUSED OF KILLING SEAGULL GETS OFF WITH WARNING--Bethany Beach lifeguards called for police assistance Thursday after a child was accused of killing a seagull.

Police Chief Mike Redmon says his officers responded to the beach off 2nd Street around 4:50 p.m. Police spoke with a witness who identified the suspect, a juvenile from Walkersville, Maryland. Chief Redmon says the investigation was turned over to Delaware Division of Fish & Wildlife.

Joanna Wilson, DNREC spokeswoman, says "Fish and Wildlife Enforcement issued a verbal warning to the suspect and contacted the parents. The bird was not located." The accused claimed the bird flew away, but another report suggested the child buried the remains to hide the evidence.


CAR WITH NO LICENSE PLATE, STILL GETS PARKING TICKET--- What to do with a car with no license plate parked at an expired parking meter? A Rehoboth Beach ticket writer made that inquiry Thursday evening when he found a car in the second block of Rehoboth Avenue around 8 p.m.

"It has no license plate on it and I've never run into this situation before. Do you know what we are supposed to do?" he asked. The only thing in the windshield was a New York State inspection sticker. He was told to use the vehicle identification number (VIN) for the ticket and note that it probably comes from New York State.


2 O.C. HIGH-RISE CONDOS EVACUATED AFTER EARLY MORNING SMOKE SCARES--- The alarm sounded and the Plaza Condo at 9800 Coastal Highway was in the process of being evacuated when firefighters arrived around 3:45 a.m. Friday to investigate a haze of smoke. Firefighters suspected the problem was an air handler on the 6th floor which had tripped a circuit breaker.

The following day, firefighters were sent to the 9400 Coastal Highway Condo just before 6 a.m. for an electrical odor. The alarm was also activated with people being evacuated. They tracked the smoke source possibly to a burnt fan motor in an arcade game.


MAN FLOWN FROM O.C. AFTER MOTOR SCOOTER CRASH--- A man was seriously injured after a crash on his motor scooter just before 7 p.m. Friday. It happened at 12th Street and Saint Louis Avenue. He was reported combative with a suspected head injury and was flown to a trauma center.


PEDESTRIAN SERIOUS AFTER BEING STRUCK IN OCEAN VIEW--- A pedestrian was left in serious condition after getting hit by a vehicle on Atlantic Avenue at Woodland Avenue in Ocean View. It was reported just before midnight Saturday. Arriving EMS personnel reported electrical wires down on the roadway along with a utility pole. The victim was flown to Christiana Hospital and the roadway was closed for a couple hours. Initial reports were that at least one vehicle involved fled the scene, but Ocean View police have not said.


BEACH GOERS ROBBED OF BASEBALL CAPS--- Ocean City police took a report Sunday morning that a teenager robbed two visitors of their baseball hats. It happened around 1:15 a.m. in front of the Princess Royale at 91st Street. The suspect was described as a 16 or 17 year old black male wearing dark clothing. One baseball cap is red and black with a Monster Energy Drink emblem on the front. The other was a Yankees-style baseball cap. No weapon was seen.


WOMAN SAYS MAN EXPOSED HIMSELF--- Rehoboth Beach police are looking for a man who allegedly exposed himself to a woman. It happened around 7:30 a.m. Sunday in the area of Brooklyn and King Charles avenues. She described the man as a 50 year old with light-color hair, long-sleeve shirt and dark pants. She said he had been standing next to a vehicle when he exposed himself to her.


POLICE CITE 3RD PERSON FOR DISROBING IN PUBLIC--- Rehoboth Beach police cited three people this past week for disrobing in public. Two Germans using the boardwalk shower were cited on Wednesday after police received a merchant complaint. See wgmd.com for more details. The most recent case involved a man around 5:05 p.m. Sunday on the boardwalk at Baltimore Avenue.


DOG COMPLAINT RESULTS IN OWNER ARRESTED FOR CRIMINAL IMPERSONATION--- Rehoboth Beach lifeguards and police received a complaint about a dog on the beach at Laurel Street around 1 p.m. Sunday. "I told her she has to get the dog off the beach," the guard said over the radio from the Laurel Street stand. "But then she sat down on her blanket and she is taking her time taking it [the dog] off the beach..."

A couple seasonal officers sent to investigate located the dog and the owner. The woman apparently lied about her name when officers attempted to make a routine computer check. They escorted her to her car in the 200 block of Laurel Street where she showed them a driver's license. She was arrested for criminal impersonation and taken to the police station.


OCEAN CITY LIFEGUARDS REVIVE MAN--- A man collapsed in cardiac arrest on the beach on Saturday. It happened at 94th Street in Ocean City around 3 p.m. Beach Patrol Capt. Butch Arbin says the man was successfully resuscitated by the guards. "The last report was that he was conscious and alert as they loaded him in the ambulance," Capt. Arbin adds. The man reportedly had a pacemaker.




Rehoboth's Poodle Beach named one of world's top 10 gay beaches

Beach hole digging dangers (CBS interview with O.C.B.P. capt.)

Screws pop up on the Rehoboth Beach boardwalk

Dead dolphin recovered from Rehoboth Bay (Tuesday)

Bicyclist critical after crash into Jolly Trolley (Dewey, Tuesday)

Boy seriously injured in fall from bike (Henlopen Acres, Tuesday)

Germans cited for disrobing in public at boardwalk shower (Rehoboth, Wednesday)

Washington man arrested after traffic stop (Lewes, Friday)

PA man electrocuted while working on father's home (Berlin, Saturday)

Lightning sparks house fire (Girdletree, Friday)

2 Russians arrested for shoplifting (West O.C., Saturday)

U.S.C.G. medevacs man from fishing boat (Chincoteague, Sunday)

Sandcastle contest photos (Rehoboth, Saturday)


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