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WEEKEND #14, 2012

Rehoboth Beach, Delaware



Approximately 70 vehicles stranded or damaged as result of flood

Saturday was a day from water hell for many Rehoboth Beach officials, businesses and visitors. More than five inches of rain were recorded by the boardwalk DEOS weather station.

Much of the day was rainy and overcast, but the flooding reports started around 6 p.m. in the second block of Wilmington Avenue -- a chronic flooding area -- where water was reported up to the doors of the Henlopen City Oyster House.

The parking lot behind the Rehoboth Beach firehouse began flooding around 7 p.m. Water from the Breakers Hotel area flowed across Lake Avenue into Lake Gerar.

Between 7 and 8 p.m., which brought almost two more inches of rain, officials responded to several reports of buildings and businesses where flooding was causing major problems. This included Stuart Kingston, Star of the Sea Condo, Dos Locos Restaurant and Brighton Suites. Among the biggest problem was leaking roofs, flooded basements and underground garages. Power was cut in several buildings for safety.

The alleyway behind Dos Locos was deep under water and scattered with debris. Around 12:15 a.m. Sunday, Mayor Sam Cooper and police officers attempted to unplug a stubborn storm drain under a light rain while lightning shot across the morning sky.

Almost 50 vehicles were pulled, one by one, from the flooded garage of the Brighton Suites through the early hours of Sunday. Coastal Towing helped remove them along with an employee who used his truck to pull the cars from the water.

SERVPRO arrived Sunday to pump the garage of an estimated 300,000 gallons. That figure was based on the square footage and four feet of water.

Saturday night, the wake from passing vehicles sent flood waters into many businesses. So police barricaded streets where water had risen. That included First Street between Rehoboth and Delaware avenues and the second block of Wilmington Avenue.

Water pressure in the storm drains forced open several manhole covers throughout town. Businesses such as Espuma stayed open but struggled to keep the water from entering the building. Other businesses such as Dos Locos, which fought a flooded alleyway, closed hours early.

Wilmington and Delaware avenues were among those flooded near the boardwalk, where the city has had trouble this summer with the outfall pipes that drain storm water into the ocean. At one point, vehicles were reported floating around on the street. Many vehicles belonging to workers from Funland, who park behind the Surfside Arcade, found their cars flooded.

Several business people along Wilmington and Delaware avenues blame the Delaware Avenue outfall pipe on the beach for the extensive flooding. The Army Corps of Engineers has been responsible for clearing the drain pipe since the recent beach replenishment.

Commissioner Stan Mills said with regard to "the flooding in the first blocks of Wilmington, Delaware, Brooklyn and also First Street between Wilmington and Delaware Avenues -- areas with storm drain catch basins that empty into the single pipe that discharges into the ocean at Delaware Avenue -- I believe the Delaware Avenue discharge pipe became clogged and caused the storm waters to back up and stand on those roadways. Apparently the pipe opened up itself during high tide between 3 and 4 a.m. and the waters quickly drained."

He added that the city has a meeting scheduled with the Army Corps of Engineers to address this continued problem. This was Delaware Avenue shortly after midnight.

Another victim of the flooding was the Star of the Sea condo where workers pumped water from the basement on Sunday. The "Star of the Sea suffered severe flooding in the basement caused by rainfall out from Brooklyn Avenue," says Brian Hancock, condominium manager. "This flooding caused extensive flooding to 15 vehicles. Guests were helped and advised to make arrangements with local rental car companies to get rental vehicles to return home after their stay," he noted.

Hancock said the condo made arrangements with the city to allow vehicles with a Star of the Sea parking permit to park on metered parking spaces for two days subject to a City Manager's meeting to be held on Monday. "This could not have occurred at a worse time with most accommodations being fully booked for the Labor Day week," Hancock added.

Firefighters and police responded to the Star of the Sea this weekend for automatic fire alarms and related problems. Here is a Rehoboth Beach fire truck headed there down Christian Street during the peak of the flooding around 7:53 p.m.

Photo courtesy Jeremy Settle

According to the boardwalk DEOS weather station, Rehoboth Beach has had 25.3 inches of rain so far this year. That includes the 5.32 inches from Saturday. Only 2.32 inches of rain fell in July and 4.6 inches in June. Ironically it was this same weekend last year when Hurricane Irene passed Rehoboth Beach. The rest of Sussex County was impacted severely by Saturday's rain as well. See this WGMD article for details.

Mayor Cooper said Sunday that this "storm was truly an event to remember and I hope we do not see anything like it again for a very long time."



An allegedly intoxicated man who fled police in a 2001 Ford Windstar ended up crashing his van into a pillar at the Blue Point Villas outside Rehoboth early Friday night. A state police news release says a state trooper on routine patrol spotted the man driving north on Coastal Highway around 7 p.m. A computer check revealed that the van's tags had expired and the trooper conducted a traffic stop after the van turned west on Old Landing Road.

After the trooper spoke with the driver, the officer returned to the police car to conduct another computer check. After completing the computer check, the trooper re-approached the Windstar. That is when the suspect drove away.

Police say the trooper chased the Windstar west on Old Landing Road turning south on Airport Road. The suspect approached Coastal Highway, failed to yield to southbound traffic as he crossed the roadway almost striking numerous vehicles. Police say the driver continued recklessly as he drove south on Coastal Highway swerving in and out of traffic using the bus lane before turning onto South Timberlake Drive.

That is where the van struck a concrete support pillar at the Blue Point Villas condominium and came to a stop.

The suspect, later identified by police as 35-year-old Cornelius Marchtmon of Rehoboth, fled on foot. He was pursued and eventually surrendered near the Penco Corporation warehouse on Oyster House Road. Marchtmon was arrested, taken to Troop 7 and eventually taken to Beebe Hospital by ambulance where he was treated for injuries and released.

He has been charged with DUI, resisting arrest, disregarding a police officer's signal, driving while suspended, aggressive driving and several other traffic-related charges.



Rehoboth Beach police say a juvenile who was driving a Nissan Sentra fell asleep at the wheel and drove into the rear of a Jeep Cherokee which was legally parked.

It happened around 12:15 a.m. Saturday between the Summer House and Buddhas & Beads in the 200 block of Rehoboth Avenue.

Sgt. Jaime Riddle said the accident was not alcohol-related in any way. The driver, he added, while found completely at fault for the collision, was not charged.



Rehoboth Beach lifeguards on patrol in this Gator stopped a man with a camera around 4:45 p.m. Friday near the Henlopen Hotel.

A beach patrol source later said the man had been reportedly acting "suspicious" and had been seen possibly taking photos of kids. After his encounter with the guards, he continued on his way without further incident.



The city has installed two pedestrian crossing signs. One is at Oak and Surf avenues and the other is on King Charles at Laurel avenues.

Commissioner Bill Sargent, who lives around the corner from the sign on Oak Avenue, says he thinks "the sign is terrific. It has quite a calming effect on traffic." He said he has watched cars slow as they approach the crosswalk and look/stop for pedestrians.

He added that the Streets and Transportation Committee had wanted to install three in town. But the commission decided that the one proposed for First Street at Olive Avenue was not recommended because the street is too narrow.



Visitors have been impressed by the "dolphin shows" the past couple weeks. David Koster took his Memory Maker Boat out earlier this month looking for dolphins. Here is a big one he photographed.

Photo courtesy David Koster (www.PortraitsInTheSand.com and www.memorymakerboat.com)


AERIEART GALLERY - A gem in the Rehoboth Pines
by Dagmar Henney

Tucked away at the edge of the Rehoboth Pines is the AerieArt Gallery. The current exhibition, "The Space Between Us," on view through September 15, consists of recent artwork by four Salisbury University art professors.

Shown below are oil paintings on canvas by two of them, Paul Flexner, titled "Filtered Sunlight," on the left, and Jinchul Kim's "A Poet-Sensitivity and Consciousness," on the right.

In addition to the high quality work of currently active local artists, owner Dick Poole says he has an "extensive inventory of art work from the late 19th Century and the entire 20th Century that my wife [Elisa] and I have been collecting for 50 years. The art in our collection is simply not available anywhere else in the resort area or, indeed, anywhere else at all, for that matter."

This gallery, a gem along Rehoboth's Pines, is a must-see for art collectors. He is open daily during the season and on weekends thereafter. Please look for his gallery during the Mosaic Art Walk or online.



GIRL NEARLY DROWNS IN O.C. SURF--- Before Ocean City lifeguards were even on the stands Friday morning, the OCBP had already made a rescue. Around 8:28 a.m., O.C. firefighters and the beach patrol responded to 43rd Street for two persons in distress in the surf. One victim made it to shore, but the other was still struggling. "OCBP personnel were actually here," says Capt. Butch Arbin "because we had an event that started at 7:30 a.m... Because we were there we were able to rescue the non-breathing girl only moments before it would have been a search. Once again a bad decision by a young person was almost a tragedy," he added. She was reported to have been in serious condition in respiratory arrest when taken to the hospital.

MAN ALMOST STRUCK BY LIGHTNING--- A man is lucky to be alive after having almost been struck by lightning. Joseph Hopple, Sussex County EMS spokesman, says a 24-year-old man was working on a car when a lightning bolt struck nearby around 6 p.m. Saturday. He was thrown to the ground but not seriously injured. They took him to Beebe Hospital for a checkup. It happened on Meadow Lane in Stockley Crossing.

TEEN FALLS FROM O.C. LIFEGUARD STAND, FLOWN TO TRAUMA CENTER--- A 16-year-old girl was injured after reportedly falling head first from a lifeguard stand Monday evening. It was reported around 7:30 p.m. near the Greene Turtle at 11601 Coastal Highway in Ocean City. She complained of loss of feeling and numbness in her back and back pain. A state police helicopter flew her to a trauma center.

65-YEAR-OLD MAN VICTIM OF REHOBOTH BEACH ROBBERY ATTEMPT--- Neighbors came to the rescue when a man called for help after he was confronted by three men around 9:20 p.m. Wednesday. Rehoboth Beach police say it was a robbery attempt. The men, in their late teens or early 20's, followed the victim from the American Legion to the ocean block of Norfolk Street where they pushed him to the ground and demanded money. The suspects got away. According to Police Chief Keith Banks, the city has had no successful robberies in 2012, only two in 2011 and six in 2010.

BICYCLIST (RESTAURANT OWNER) KILLED IN CRASH WITH O.C. BUS--- An Ocean City transit bus collided with a bicyclist at 132nd Street around 8:35 p.m. Friday. The victim, 49-year-old Patrick McCusker of Cockeysville, was taken to Atlantic General and then Peninsula Regional Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead. WGMD.com reports that McCusker owned two popular restaurants in the Baltimore area and had worked in numerous establishments in Ocean City. Also see the OCPD blog for details.

INTOXICATED WOMAN FALLS FROM REAR OF PICKUP TRUCK DURING THUNDERSTORM--- An intoxicated 52-year-old woman riding the back of a pickup truck during Saturday's thunderstorm fell from the truck, landing on her buttocks and striking her head on the ground. When she regained consciousness, she could only remember her name and the fact that she was a nurse. It was reported around 6:10 p.m. Saturday on Captains Walk in Pot-Nets Seaside. She was taken to Beebe Hospital.

REHOBOTH BAY WATER INCIDENT--- An inflatable boat with adults and children on board was reported having trouble returning to shore around 1:40 p.m. Saturday off New Road in the Rehoboth Bay. Another boater came to their aid as firefighters from Rehoboth Beach, Bethany Beach and Indian River were en route.

WEEKEND FIRES (since Friday): Firefighters responded to several structure fires along the shore this weekend, including:

Fri. 1:01 a.m., 17120 Ockels Lane, Milton, working structure fire threatening a propane tank.

Sat. 11:10 p.m., 37200 Johnson Road, Selbyville-Roxana area, large home, about 5000 square feet, possibly started by lightning strike.

Sun. 12:57 a.m., 41 Inlet View Court, South Shores, just southwest of Indian River Inlet. Another house fire during thunderstorm.

Sun. 5:40 a.m., 34155 High Knoll Road, Harts Landing, house fire. Lewes FD has photos on its Website.



Resort beaches rely on pumping sand

Sea-level rise a coastal concern

Sand keeps tourists coming back

Not possible to end beach erosion

Beach replenishment - injury correlation at issue

DelDOT micro-surfacing roads

Tourism office shoots for next 'Del-ebrity'

Peak sea turtle season approaches for Delaware waters

DNREC: Disease killing deer will run its course in cooler fall weather

Delaware artist Jack Lewis dies

Sussex County, state agree to add more troopers to patrols

DNREC, Delmarva Power kick off 2012 Coastal Cleanup (September)

Deadline for public comment on Prime Hook NWR Conservation Plan is today (Monday)

Millsboro man fleeing police killed in early morning crash (Ellendale, Sunday)

AAA discounts on Cape May-Lewes Ferry

Motorcyclist injured in accident with deer (Harbeson, Thursday)

Motorcyclist injured in crash with car (Angola, Wednesday)

Architect fleshes out new city hall plans (Rehoboth Beach)

Former Commissioner Applebaum named acting town manager in Dewey Beach

More candidates enter race for Dewey council seats

Sen. Carper denies Pires' allegations about not taking stand on gay rights

Volunteers needed for bike to the bay ride (Sept. 22-23)

Fundraisers for murdered Millsboro mom of three planned

New public comment period underway for health issues after Millsboro TCE contamination in 2005

Georgetown man killed in motorcycle crash (Frankford, Wednesday)

Maintenance work begins on Route 50 Bridge in OC starting Aug. 29

Ocean City Mayor Rick Meehan will have opponent in Nov. election

Pedestrian struck in Ocean City is Irish (last Monday)

Berlin's politically correct fire department (Bill Colley commentary)

Sand pit collapses on Oxnard beach, California, killing college student



The Rehoboth Weekend Update is distributed by Alan Henney. Should you receive the Weekend Update twice, or do not wish to receive it at all, please contact Alan.

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