Saturday, June 22, 2013

Cactus Flower

The Eastern Prickly Pear Cactus I have in pots around the yard are in bloom.  As everyone knows they will grow anywhere.  In one of my few lucid gardening moments I decided to put them in pots instead of being planted in the ground.  Unlike other plants in my yard, this one has been confined to where I planted it.  They are an excellent plant for a pot as they require almost no care or watering and they survive the winters in this area. 
In my early days of cemetery exploring I found you should not wear sandals when walking around a cemetery because these little plants love the sandy soil most cemeteries have.  In fact I acquired my Prickly Pears from local cemeteries (always travel with a trowel).
The Eastern Prickly Pear or Indian Fig are considered Nopales cactus - cactus with beaver tail like paddles.  Supposedly they are edible and are considered both a vegetable and a fruit.  Both the green pads and the unopened flower buds can be cooked as a vegetable and once the flower blooms and leaves the cactus berry, the berry itself  can be cleaned and cut open and eaten. I have never tried it as I think it requires a certain art to remove the needles on them.  As a man who always fear eating a fish bone I can't imagine getting a cactus needle jamed in your throat.


DNREC Press Release

Go Ape zip line Treetop Adventure opens at Lums Pond State Park

BEAR (June 21, 2013) – DNREC Secretary Collin O’Mara joined State Representative. Valerie Longhurst, and other state and parks officials on the brand new zip lines at the new Go Ape Treetop Adventure at Lums Pond State Park. It’s the first zip line treetop adventure course in a state park on the East Coast; the first treetop adventure course in Delaware, and Go Ape’s first partnership with a state park. Under the public/private partnership, Go Ape and DNREC’s Division of Parks and Recreation are offering Delawareans this unique outdoor adventure.

“This is a first for Delaware and I’m delighted Go Ape decided to locate at beautiful Lums Pond State Park,” said Governor Jack Markell. “This regional attraction will benefit Delaware tourism and our local businesses by drawing nearby visitors and people from surrounding states. That's a boon for our tourism economy and for Lums Pond State Park. It's a fun and healthy adventure and another great reason to get outside in Delaware this summer.”

Go Ape is a highly interactive treetop adventure where participants are equipped with harnesses, pulleys and carabineers and receive a 30-minute training session before they are turned loose into the trees. The course at Lums Pond State Park will provide visitors with two to three hours of outdoor fun and exercise while they navigate more than 40 obstacles situated in the treetops of the park.

“We are so excited to come to Delaware and bring with us some of the longest zip lines Go Ape has anywhere in the U.S.,” said Dan D’Agostino, USA Managing Director for Go Ape. “Because of its water features, Lums Pond State Park is the perfect location to create the first zip lines to cross a body of water in a state park.”

The course spans seven acres and features five zip lines, four of which will fly participants over Lums Pond. Also included are two Tarzan swings and a series of rope ladders, bridges, swings and trapezes, many with views of the pond.

“We welcome Go Ape’s low-impact recreation approach and commend them for their attention to protecting the trees and the environment around the course,” said DNREC Secretary Collin O’Mara. “We are so pleased that Delaware families have their own zip line adventures available to them at a great location like Lums Pond State Park. This is a course that allows us to ‘live life adventurously,’ and experience the park like never before, from 50 feet up in the trees, hanging by a wire. I challenge everyone to take a ride down, to get outdoors and enjoy all that Delaware has to offer in nature this summer. I’ll see you in the trees.”
Go Ape’s mission is to support park departments across the country. To date, Go Ape has developed rewarding partnerships with park departments in Indianapolis, Pittsburgh, Rockville, Md. and Williamsburg, Va. Under each partnership, a portion of every ticket sold goes back to the respective park department while 100 percent of the capital investment is paid for by Go Ape.
“Go Ape’s attractions are a perfect fit for Delaware, and a great tool for boosting our visibility as a tourist destination,” said Linda Parkowski, director of the Delaware Tourism Office. “The zip lines will attract people who are looking for outdoor adventures, which are very popular with travelers.”
In addition, Go Ape leads park stewardship programs, develops educational signage, hosts yearly fundraisers to raise funds for the park, and provides free and discounted tickets to underserved and special needs communities. Go Ape aligns its goals and activities to those of its park partners to encourage the sustainability and health of the parks and the communities they serve.
“A lot of people have the idea that they need to leave Delaware to participate in high-adventure outdoor activities,” said DNREC Division of Parks and Recreation Director Charles Salkin. “But, Delaware State Parks offer rock climbing, mountain biking, adventure races, ocean kayaking and much more. Adding the Go Ape course to the mix makes our state park system the go-to place for this level of outdoor experience.”
For more information, visit to see a one-minute, action-packed video of people on the Delaware Go Ape course.
More information, including directions can be found at GPS directions are: Lums Pond State Park, 1042 Howell School Road, Bear, 19701.
You can become a fan of “Go Ape USA” on Facebook or follow @GoApeUSA on Twitter. To see video of the Go Ape experience, visit Go Ape’s YouTube channel at To book treetime, go to or call 1-800-971-8271. The cost is $35 (ages 10-17) and $55 for adults.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Sussex County Press Release

Sussex County adopts $117.7 million budget for Fiscal 2014

Georgetown, Del., June 18, 2013: There are few certainties in life, as Benjamin Franklin once noted. When it comes to taxes, some things never change in Sussex County.

Sussex County Council, following a public hearing Tuesday, June 18, 2013, unanimously approved the proposed $117.7 million budget for the 2014 fiscal year that begins July 1, and just as previous budgets have done, the new plan will keep the County’s property tax rate the same as it has been since 1990.

A recovering housing market, leading to a projected uptick in local realty transfer tax revenue, is helping to strengthen the budget, which means good news for taxpayers. This year marks the 24th year in a row the County’s property tax rate has remained at 44.5 cents per $100 of assessed value. The average County tax bill for a single-family home remains around $100 annually, not including independent school district taxes.

The good news isn’t limited to just taxpayers. The majority of the County’s 57,000 public wastewater customers have reason to cheer, as well. While rates from other providers are on the rise, many County sewer customers’ rates will decrease, depending on the district, thanks to a recent refinancing and the retirement of long-term debt.

“This budget continues Sussex County’s long tradition of prudent, measured spending while ensuring essential public services remain the best value around,” County Administrator Todd F. Lawson said. “Sussex County is tremendously proud of the fact that, unlike many others, we can continue to run efficiently and effectively with a tax rate set a generation ago. It’s a tremendous feat.”

While the overall budget is down from the 2013 plan, the general fund portion of the budget is expected to rise by 8 percent, or $3.7 million. That is due in part to an expected surplus later this year, as well as an expected increase in revenues from realty transfer taxes, building permit and zoning fees, and Recorder of Deeds fees -- all tied to an improving local housing market. The general fund portion of the budget pays for day-to-day operations and services offered by County government.

The new budget maintains grant funding for local service providers, including volunteer fire companies, municipal police departments, local libraries and non-profit community groups, while increasing funding for the County’s housing rehabilitation program to assist lower-income households.

On the operations side, the proposed budget includes a one-time bonus for the County’s nearly 500 employees. The budget also includes an enhancement to the employee benefits program to change the current dental and vision programs from a reimbursement plan to an insurance plan.

County Council President Michael H. Vincent said the new budget carries on the County’s tried-and-true principles of limited government and conservative spending.

“If there is anything the public appreciates, it is consistency, especially when it comes to their government and how their money is being spent,” President Vincent said. “For nearly a quarter century, the people of Sussex County have been able to count on taxes remaining the same, and trust that their dollars are being used wisely to provide them with the services they need.

“They can rest assured that will be the case for yet another year,” Mr. Vincent said.


Monday, June 17, 2013

The June Delmar Joint Council Meeting 2013

I stuck around after the Utility Commission Meeting for the about 15 minutes of the Delmar Joint Council Meeting.  The only elected member missing was Karon Wells.  Mayor Houlihan  gave a statement at the beginning of the meeting saying that he personally had been slurred and also the Delmar Delaware council had been painted poorly by the social media.  He said his and the council primary object was to serve Delmar Delaware and not anyone else.  This problem apparently is something that came out of the executive session of the last Police Commission meeting.  The end result is the Delmar Delaware council will begin having in August separate council meetings and will only have joint council meetings when there is a subject that requires it.  He asked Police Chief Saylor if crime was up and the Chief said that over a six month period it was down.   I certainly agree with the separate meeting, I think the Maryland side of town with their do'ings have forced increased taxes on the Delaware side  of town.  Time to reduce our involvement with them.

Patrolman Jacko has completed his Maryland training and was sworn in tonight by Delmar Maryland Mayor Anderton.

Corporal Esham and Patrolman Novak were given a certificate for their work with the Arson problem in Delmar Maryland last month.

And the Town Water Operator, Robert Windsor, was awarded a plaque for being Delaware Water Operator of the Year

and I had heard and seen enough and decided to avoid a boring evening at the Joint Council meeting so I left.

Sunday, June 16, 2013