WEEKEND #13, 2008

Rehoboth Beach, Delaware


Black smoke and sirens drew residents and visitors from across Rehoboth Beach on Thursday after a fire broke out in this house on the corner of Dover Street and Columbia Avenue just before 6 p.m. People came on foot and by bicycle, with digi-cams and cell phone cameras, to watch as the fire burned.


A man staying in the adjacent house said he noticed smoke coming from the eaves, heard the alarms sounding inside the home and called for help.

Firefighters from Lewes and Bethany assisted those from Rehoboth Beach extinguish the blaze. It took them about 25 minutes to bring it under control. No one was home at the time of the fire, and there were no injuries.

A news release issued Friday from the State Fire Marshal says investigators have determined that the fire originated in the rear bedroom and the cause is still under investigation. Damages have been estimated at $150,000.

John Hughes, former Rehoboth Beach mayor, was one of the many who came to watch (above). Fritz Hessemer, a director of the Rehoboth Beach Homeowners' Association, talks with a police officer while sitting on his bike.

Hughes and Hessemer were among many other observers...




Traffic leaving Rehoboth Beach slowed as it approached the canal bridge late Saturday as motorists found themselves caught in a surprise DUI checkpoint.

Rehoboth Beach police conducted the checkpoint from 11:30 p.m. to around 12:50 a.m. They kept traffic moving and waived many motorists through the checkpoint. But officers scrutinized a few drivers such as this woman in the white slacks, below, who had been driving the Subaru Outback. Another officer spoke with her passenger.



A frustrated Rehoboth Beach lifeguard radioed for police assistance Friday, after several beach goers brought dogs on the beach around 11:10 a.m. The guard said they had spoken with the group earlier whose response was that the "east coast sucks... on the west coast we can do that."

The lifeguard said the group briefly left the beach with the dogs, but soon returned to the beach near the dune fence in front of the south-boards Grotto's. That's when the beach patrol called for police.

Police escorted the offenders with their three dogs off the beach. At the foot of Rehoboth Avenue, they were each written a summons.



The beach was packed Saturday afternoon when Rehoboth Beach lifeguards struggled with a complaint about a man digging a hole off Wilmington Avenue around 3:10 p.m. One guard said two women on the beach near the man got into a verbal argument after he supposedly got sand on their belongings.

The first lifeguard who went to investigate said the man got "smart" with the women and the guard. The lifeguard section supervisor also attempted to talk with the man, who said the man refused to acknowledge he was even there. The man had also refused to fill in the hole, claiming it was the guard's job.

One guard asked for police, but Beach Patrol Capt. Kent Buckson decided to come personally to speak with those involved. He seemed to have reached a consensus among the parties involved, and police were not needed.

Below: Capt. Kent Buckson inspects the ditch. It appeared poorly defined and was described as roughly three or four feet deep.

The man responsible was the one in the black shorts.



For almost a quarter century, letter carrier Teresa Holmes has been a fixture in Rehoboth Beach. She is one of those people who helped make Rehoboth Beach, "Rehoboth Beach." Neighbors and the Postal Service held a retirement party for her Friday at the Post Office Carrier Annex.

Holmes said she spent her entire 23 years with the Rehoboth Beach Post Office. She had been assigned the same nine-mile walking route for more than 13 years with some 500 addresses. She became a familiar face in town, often checking on elderly residents, and trusted much like mail carriers of a bygone era.

She says she faced challenges being Rehoboth's first woman and first African American mail carrier. But that did not stop her. Now she plans to continue to be a regular in town with a cleaning business.

Holmes stands in her old mail sorting area (above). Howard Butler, a Rehoboth Beach Homeowners' Association director, congratulates her for her years of service (below).


Two buildings and Chevrolet TrailBlazer possibly struck by lightning

According to the Boardwalk Plaza WeatherBug, Friday's thunderstorms brought 1.38 inches of rain to Rehoboth Beach. Quarter-size hail was reported near the Indian River Inlet, and threatening lightning created a sense of danger all along the shore.

Around 3:45 p.m., a few storm drains became overwhelmed, such as the one near Hotel Rehoboth. The city crew responded, despite the lightning, to clear debris and keep the storm water flowing. Meanwhile, rangers in the Cape Henlopen State Park called for a sump pump at the fishing pier to pump four feet of water.

Rehoboth firefighters investigated a report of a building struck by lightning at 12 Kendal Lane in Eagle's Landing around 3:20 p.m. There was an odor of smoke, but no fire.

Bethany Beach firefighters responded to 54063 Starfish Court in Sea Colony around 5:10 p.m. to investigate another lightning strike. No fire was found there either, but photos of the damage are posted on the Bethany Beach Fire Company's Website.

A woman driving a Chevy TrailBlazer called for help after she said the SUV was struck by lightning and caught fire. She was south of Dewey Beach on Route 1 near Tower Road around 6:50 p.m. when she got caught in one of the thundershowers.

Cpl. Jeff Whitmarsh, state police spokesman, says the woman had pulled to the side of the road during the heavy rain. That's when the vehicle was struck by lightning. She and her passengers got out safely. Rehoboth firefighters extinguished the fire which was reported in the engine compartment. The woman and her passengers rented a car, he added, and everyone went on their way.


Police say witnesses claim two vehicles were racing on Route 50 Friday night when one of them crashed, killing both the driver and passenger. The accident, which closed westbound lanes of Route 50 for a couple hours near Berlin, happened around 11:45 p.m.

Prior to the accident, a witness reported that the vehicle sped by them on the shoulder of Route 50 at Logtown Road when it lost control, crossed over the highway and overturned in the median.

Police are looking for a second vehicle, a blue or dark-colored car which was last seen speeding east on Route 50 around 11:50 p.m. and appeared to be racing the other vehicle. It had passed the witnesses in the fast lane.

Police identified the deceased driver as 22-year-old Jason Alan Joseph of Eden, Maryland. The passenger was 25-year-old Donald Wayne Strought of Salisbury, Maryland. Police say alcohol may have contributed to the accident.


The waterline to Wings To Go on North First Street in Rehoboth Beach broke over the weekend. A tech from the water department determined that the leak is on the business' side of the water meter and the landlord is responsible for making repairs -- but cannot break the sidewalk on the weekend.

Despite the leak, the carryout still has running water, and remains open on Sunday.


"Yeah, right, whatever" was supposedly the response one man gave to a lifeguard after she told him she'd need the reserved parking space back when she returned from lunch.

When she returned around 1:30 p.m., his Ford Explorer with a Delaware tag was still in the reserved lifeguard space on Wilmington Avenue. It even had more than two hours paid in the parking meter.

Police wrote the Explorer a summons and had Coastal Towing remove it to the city's impound lot per the beach patrol's request.


Rehoboth Beach lifeguards reported this blue Chevy Impala with Pennsylvania tags parked in their reserved parking area on Hickman Street around 1:45 p.m. Monday. They asked police to ticket it, but did not insist on having it towed. The Impala had more than 45 minutes remaining in the parking meter when it received a $25 municipal parking summons. The gray Nissan to the right is a lifeguard's vehicle.

This has been a tricky space in previous years, as the sign, which reserves the two lifeguard parking spaces, is mounted beneath the parking meters. People who have been ticketed here in the past argued that the sign is not always obvious.



Rehoboth Beach celebrity Cheryl Blackman is working the phones and once again on the boardwalk selling raffle tickets for KINfolk, an organization which helps chronically ill children. If you would like to help, look for her around town. The drawing is in December.