Saturday, October 10, 2009

A Visit to The Ward Museum - Sort Of

Well it is another weekend of festivals everywhere – from the Chincoteague Oyster festival to the Bridgeville Apple Scrapple Festival. I elected to go to the Ward Museum in Salisbury today. It was FREE admission and they had their Chesapeake Wildfowl Expo going on. The Ward Museum of Wildfowl Art was built about 1991/1992. It is one of those specialized museums that has limited appeal to the general local populace. This is my second visit to it in 17 years and that was merely because I am a sucker for the word 'Free'. The museum building was created by a group of people on Delmarva (the Ward Foundation) who thought Bird Carving was unique to the area and was one of the few things the area could brag about. It has been a dismal flop since it opened. The way you can tell the popularity of an event or place is by the financial support the common person gives it. The Ward Foundation Museum barely survived for a number of years. They tried to get Wicomico County to take it over. They tried to get the City of Salisbury to take it over. After years of begging, pleading, a little crying and a lot of groveling they got Salisbury University (The people with the excess money) to take it over.

With its 4.5 acre waterfront facility with 12,000 square feet of exhibition space, the museum is a major destination for tourists and a resource for local residents who enjoy its year-round offerings. From the Ward Museum webpage

Can you translate that verbiage is into high maintenance costs for the building. I think somewhere it said they also had 17 paid staff. Very limited attendance from the local people and I think their main groups attending the museum are school kids forced to go there on a field trip paid for by a government grant. I do not doubt outsiders are attracted to it as I saw many out-of-the area car license plates in the parking lots.

Let me say even with it being free today I doubt if I spend more than 20 minutes there and 5 of those were walking from and back to my car. It is a very nice building, professional displays, excellent bird carvings and I have no interest in it. I did find the old birding shotguns and duck boats interesting. It is obviously aimed at people other than those who live in the area. I wonder how much tax money goes to support the place.

Maybe to draw more people there, a small slot machine casino in the back would do the trick. I will have to tip Jamie Rostocki off to that.

The Delmar Texaco Station - 1947

Friday, October 09, 2009

Sussex County Press Release

RACES Group Looking for Amateur Radio Enthusiasts

The Sussex County Radio Amateur Civil Emergency System (RACES) program is radioing for help from other ‘ham’ enthusiasts. Are you listening?

If so, join us for our next informational meeting at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 12, 2009, to learn more about the volunteer program and how you can help your community.

The meeting is offered to anyone, especially amateur radio operators, interested in helping the RACES program. The meeting will be held in the training room of the Sussex County Emergency Operations Center, 21911 Rudder Lane, east of Georgetown.

Sussex County RACES is a corps of volunteers assigned to aid the Emergency Operations Center in the event of a major disaster, providing a critical communications link in the event conventional radio, telephones or other forms of communication are down.

Representatives from RACES will discuss operations and requirements for training certification and credentialing. These amateur radio operators, also known as ‘hams,’ will staff this portion of the operations center. Those volunteers will need to meet specific requirements of training and certification.

The program aims to link amateur radio operators throughout the county to create an auxiliary communications network, and provide support to emergency planners.

For more information on the RACES program, visit, or contact RACES radio officer John Ferguson at (302) 858-5310 or

Joe's Atlantic Service Station - 1947

Clarification on the Monday Oct 12th Special Meeting

I have received an email from the Delmar Town Manager clearing up the issues I had with the Monday (Oct 12th) special meeting.

The Special Meeting on October 12th was requested by her. She felt that there might be better ways of receiving public input on the Casino question instead of the October 21st meeting at the Fire House. The Councils will discuss this with her at the meeting of the 12th and depending on the outcome of that discussion we will know if the casino fire hall meeting will happen on the 21st.

She had received a draft of the Tidewater Agreement and it has been forwarded to the town attorney. This issue is not going to be discussed at the meeting of the 12th the draft agreement is merely going to be passed out for the council members to review.

There will also be an executive session personnel discussion that pertains to Delaware Council only at the end of the meeting.

Thursday, October 08, 2009

The Delmar Texaco Station - 1946

Love those prices

The Woes Of Woodcreek - July 2009

The July Planning and Zoning meeting minutes have been published on the town website. If you are interested in the woes of Woodcreek you should read the 25 comments from residents of Woodcreek. I find them interesting. They start on page five and by my recollection of the meeting are somewhat of a cleaned up version of what was said.

DNREC Press Release

Ex-Navy destroyer Radford to be sunk off the Indian River Inlet as longest vessel ever reefed in the Atlantic

DOVER — As part of the first multi-state reefing effort, Delaware soon will take title to the decommissioned Navy destroyer ex-Arthur W. Radford to have the former warship sunk next year at a new artificial reef off the Indian River Inlet.

The Radford, at a length of 563 feet, will be the longest vessel ever reefed in the Atlantic, with the sinking to take place at the Del-Jersey-Land inshore site located 26 miles southeast of the Indian River Inlet.

The sinking is expected to take place in spring or summer of 2010, over the jointly-developed Del-Jersey-Land reef, which is equidistant from fishing ports in Indian River, Cape May, N.J., and Ocean City, Md. The reef is a collaborative effort of the three states cited in its name—Delaware, New Jersey and Maryland—and comprises an area of about one square mile with a depth of 120-130 feet.

“Beyond benefiting marine life, the sinking of the Radford at the Del-Jersey-Land site will enhance the coastal economies of the three states through recreational fishing and diving,” said DNREC Secretary Collin O’Mara. “Sharing the Radford as reefing with our sister states also is a boon in moving forward with Delaware’s own internationally-acclaimed artificial reef program.”

Delaware Governor Jack Markell also hailed what the sinking stands for: “Expanding artificial reefs in Delaware waters is good for our environment and our economy,” Gov. Markell said. “Projects like this link our environmental health to what Delaware’s doing economically in creating new fish habitat. When the Radford is sunk onto the Del-Jersey-Land Reef, Delaware will be baiting a hook for both environmental and economic opportunity.”

This will be the first multi-state reefing effort since the site was permitted in 2006 with the purpose of joint development by the three states’ reef programs. Funding for the ship’s transportation, clean-up, preparation, sinking and monitoring will be shared among the three states and the Navy.

The Navy announced the availability of the Radford for reefing in January of 2008. In order to apply for the retired warship, the Delaware Reef Program advertised for contractors and American Marine Group, a Virginia-based marine towing, salvage and reefing company, was the successful bidder. The company, which has extensive experience reefing ships in the Atlantic, will clean, prepare, tow and sink the Radford. The work will be completed at a commercial facility in the Philadelphia area.

“Delaware is looking forward to initiating the reefing process,” said Jeffrey Tinsman, manager of the Delaware Reef Program of DNREC’s Division of Fish and Wildlife. “The Radford is an exceptionally good reefing candidate and we expect the preparation of the ship for artificial reefing to be completed in a timely and cost-effective manner. We are excited about adding this great vessel to a mid-Atlantic reef site that’s accessible from ports in three states.”

“Maryland is also pleased to be a part of this rare opportunity to provide ecological enhancement off the Delmarva Peninsula, which will contribute economic enhancement to the sport fishing community,” said Maryland DNR Fisheries Service Director Tom O’Connell.

The destroyer, named for Navy admiral Arthur W. Radford who served as the commander in chief of the U.S. Pacific Command and chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, was commissioned in 1977 and decommissioned in 2003.

Special Town Meeting October 12th

Found on the Town website; The Mayor and Council will hold a Special Meeting on October 12, 2009 at 7:00 p.m. at Town Hall. The contents of the agenda is the Tidewater Utilities Temporary Agreement and Discussion of the proposed Casino.

So what is this? Another special meeting to avoid public turnout? Does this meeting replace the casino public meeting at the fire hall on October 21st? As a member of the utility commission nothing was mentioned to me about a meeting concerning Tidewater attempt to tie into the town Waste Water Treatment Plant instead of building their own as was their agreement with the town.

Delmar Public Works at Work

There has been a water leak under the street on East Jewell and Delmar public works tackled it today. Bob Windsor, Public Works Foreman, and his team of Phil, Cory, and a young man whose name escapes me started work early and didn't finish until the afternoon. As you may recall Horsey Construction put in new laterals (the pipe from the water main to the house water meter) on Jewell street about 7 years ago.

At the start of the day

Supervision lifting street chunks

The second water leak decided to blow

The joy of standing in water for two hours finding and repairing two leaks

Filling up the hole

Public works found there were two leaks in this pipe, one was due to kinks in the line and the second was a small pinhole that could be caused by anything. Plastic waster pipe will develop leaks if it is not enclosed in clean fill dirt as the vibrations from cars going down the street will make it rub against clumps of stone etc until a leak develops. Years ago when I worked for a gas company I found the gas company on Chincoteague had problems because they had used oyster shells to bed their metal gas pipes in and they had frequent leaks.

It is important if you see what could be a leak in a street in Delmar to contact town hall as water running into the ground costs us all. One way utilities detect the presents of water leaks is by a calculation known as 'unaccounted for'. The 'unaccounted for' is the difference between what the amount of water the well pumps and the amount of water read as used at the customers water meter. As an example say; the well pumps 100,000 gallons in a given period and when the water meters are read at the end of this period only 95,000 gallons are shown as being used by the users. This will give you a 5% 'unaccounted for'. This 5% is in part due to timing differences in reading the user water meters and the well pumping meter, however it is also an indicator of leaks in the system. If you have an average 5% 'unaccounted for' each month and than the next month you go up to 13% you can figure you have a leak(s) or some one has illegally tapped into your system and is taking water from it. The cost of 'unaccounted for' water is passed back to the users of the system by higher water rates. It benefits all of us to catch water leaks whenever possible.

The New Delmar Sign

I don't know if you have noticed the new sign in the median out on Rt. 13 at the intersection of RT54. The sign is the replacement for the one which was demolished by a vehicle quite some time ago. The Greater Delmar Chamber of Commerce had a new one made and installed in the former location.

Thank you Delmar Chamber of Commerce

The Northwest Angle

There has been a flurry of recent news reports about the U.S. Customs and Border Protection stations being built and updated at border crossing entering the U.S. of A. from Canada, mainly how expensive they are. While looking at some of the places they cross I came across the Northwest Angle. I was not aware or had not paid much attention to the Northwest Angle before but it is an interesting northern border item.

Our U.S./Canadian border follows the 49th parallel from the Strait of Juan de Fuca on the West Coast to Lake of the Woods in Ontario/Minnesota and the 45th parallel between New England and Quebec. Somewhere in the border determination process a piece of land that juts out from Manitoba became part of Minnesota. It is about 150 square miles (390 square kilometers) with about 100 people living there. It is the most northern part of the contiguous United States.

The Angle, as it is referred to by Minnesotans, can only be reached by land by driving thru Canada. It can be reached by water by boating across Lake Of the Woods. The U.S. Customs and Border Protection crossing consist of a booth in which you report your entering the United States via videophone. Before leaving the Northwest Angle by road, one must report to Canadian customs also by videophone.

As happens to many isolated areas, Delmarva included, the Angle threaten to secede from the United States in 1997 and in their case join Canada. It was not a successful secession. It is also home to the most Northern, of the the contiguous United States, American school house. The Angle Inlet School is the only surviving one room school in the state. Although sixty-five miles from Warroad, Minnesota the school is part of the Warroad School District #690. It usually has about 15 students.

There are three other locations along the U.S. - Canadian border in which similar border issues happens; Elm Point Minnesota, Point Roberts, Washington, and Alburgh Vermont.

So there you have it - another interesting place in American/Canadian geography -eh.

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Delmar Motors, Inc - 1947 - Kaiser Frazer Auto Sales

A little History of the Delaware lottery

In October of 1975, it was announced that Delaware would have a new form of lottery. It would be a computerized system of preprinted lottery numbers sold at 50 cents a piece and a weekly drawing with a top prize of at least $10,000.

The “Old’ lottery had been approved in May of 1974, the Delaware lottery was established by an act of the General Assembly and signed into law by Governor Sherman W. Tribbit. It was approved, despite three “no” votes from the three state senators from Sussex County; David H. Elliott, Thurman Adams, and Richard S. Cordrey. The old lottery, called Loto-Superfecta, was in the form of picking six numbers and the winning numbers for the lottery would be determined by the winning positions of a weekly horserace. It failed to produce a winner in five weeks of operation and cost the taxpayers $750,000. The Lottery commission also had 30 non-merit employees and the Lottery commission was being accused of giving those people jobs based on political favors.

9,538 people still held tickets to the first lottery and there was a $30,000 pot left, so it was proposed to have a drawing on October 30th, 1975 and dispose of this money to the ticket holders. The drawing was the way the state fulfilled it’s obligation to the ticket holders.

The new Delaware lottery Director was Peter Simmons. He was a previous deputy director of the New Jersey lottery. He said he could produce the “new” lottery with only 19 employees. Today, all employees are State Employees. Aloysius Butler and Clark of Wilmington and Dover would handle the advertising, sales promotion, and public relations of the new lottery. The new lottery would be set up by Mathematica of Princeton, NJ, which would replace Analytics of Jenkinstown PA author of the Loto-Superfecta. Analytics had projected 11.6 million in profit for the state from the Loto-Superfecta over a three year period, so they had to go.

In 1975 the split of the revenue produced from the state lottery was; 45% of the receipts would be paid out as prizes. 30% would go to state treasury, the lottery office could consume 20% for operations, and the ticket vendors would receive the remaining 5%. The state had to sell at least $50,000 in tickets a week to make a profit with the “new” lottery.

Today, there are over 520 vendors and most of the money is allocated to prizes (50% or more, for video lottery 87%), to the General Fund (30% or more) and to Retailer commissions and bonuses (approximately 10%). Less than 5% of the proceeds is used to pay for administrative and promotional expenses.

A copy of the lottery commission audited financial statement is found here. I found it interesting, both from the standpoint of how much revenue video lottery (slots) brings in (611 million) versus standard lottery ticket (125 million) sales, and how little horseracing, the excuse for the lottery, receive from the lottery (4 million).

Monday, October 05, 2009

DNREC Press Release

Hunters reminded to register deer by phone or internet systems

New system saves time, paper and expense

With the 2009-2010 deer season beginning, the Delaware Division of Fish & Wildlife would like to remind hunter of the new requirement for all harvested deer to be registered via the Division’s toll free phone line, 1-866-511-DEER (3337) or internet system at .

As in the past, hunters must still register their deer within 24 hours of harvest. However, hunters will not be able to take deer to a check station or butcher shop and have it registered. Deer must be registered by phone or online before butcher shop processing.

Although the Division is sensitive to the tradition associated with hunters taking deer to check stations in Delaware, a change was needed and the decision was made to discontinue check stations and move to registration online and by phone. With both Delaware’s deer population and harvest numbers increasing, nearly 14,000 deer are being harvested annually and nearly half of those were being registered at check stations. The time required to enter the paper forms used at check stations had become overwhelming in both time and expense.

In addition to time and budget considerations, the new electronic system will allow the Division to receive its annual harvest information within days of the season ending rather than five or more months later. In the past, the Division was unable to compile harvest totals until around May because it took so long to enter the information on the forms into the computer. The change also will provide additional cost savings because the Division will no longer have to print thousands of deer harvest record forms, possession tags, and hide tags each year.

Even though hunters will not be able to take their deer to a check station to be registered, the change in the registration system will not impact the Division’s harvest data collection efforts.

The Division will continue to collect chronic wasting disease (CWD) and biological harvest data, including antler measurements, weights, and ages. During the peak deer seasons, Division personnel will be stationed at deer processors around the state collecting this information. Depending on the data collection goals for the year the Division will still be collecting as many samples, if not more, than it has in the past.

When registering a deer, hunters will need to know their hunting license numbers as well as the deer management zone in which the deer was harvested. Zone information can be found on pages 19 to 22 in the 2009-2010 Delaware Hunting & Trapping Guide.

After registering a deer, hunters will be given a 6-digit registration number to record and keep as proof of registration. Hunters having their deer processed by a butcher will need to give this number when dropping off the animal.

For more information on the Automated Deer Checking System and the questions you will be asked to answer, please refer to pages 3 and 24 in the hunting guide.

For more information about the deer registration change or any other deer related issue, please contact Wildlife Biologist Joe Rogerson at 302-735-3600.

Delmar High School Band - 1975

The Delmar High School Band in the Delmarva Fire Prevention Parade at Bridgeville on October 5 1975 - from the State Register Oct 9, 1975 Click Photo to englarge.

Karen Lynn Webb - 1975

Karen Lynn Webb from the State Register October 16 1975 Click Photo to enlarge