Polar Bear Plunge website

REHOBOTH BEACH, Del. (AP) - Organizers of the Special Olympics Lewes Polar Bear Plunge raised $900,000, the largest amount in the event's 26-year history.

Media outlets report about 3,600 people participated in the event Sunday, plunging into 41-degree water at Rehoboth Beach.

Don Rush

The Sussex County Council gave the okay to rezone land near Lewes for the Gills Neck Village Center that was first put forward in 2008.

It has been scaled back from over 500-thousand square feet to 75-thousand square feet.

It sits just across from Cape Henlopen High School in Lewes and near the wellheads for the town’s water.

The vote was unanimous.

But council member Bob Arlett conceded that the traffic and environmental concerns by the public were legitimate.


Mark Shaeffer who is running for a seat on the Sussex County Council in the third district was charged with drunk driving on Monday.

Authorities say the incident occurred around 11 p.m. at Savannah Road and Gills Neck Road in downtown Lewes.

Police Chief Tom Spell told the Salisbury Daily Times that the 57 year old Shaeffer was believed to be impaired and given a breath test.

He was arrested and eventually released to his family.

The Daily Times reports that yesterday morning Schaeffer confirmed the charge in an email.


Residents of Lewes gathered at the city hall this week as local officials heard them speak out about the proposed Gills Neck Village Center as the Sussex County Planning and Zoning Commission takes up the issue next week. Delmarva Public Radio's Don Rush spoke with Lewes Mayor Ted Becker about the issues that concern the town.

Davis, Bowen & Friedel

A compromise was reached for a scaled down Gills Neck Village Center from 215,000 square feet to 75,000 square feet. But, John Mateyko with the Lewwes Partnership for Managing Growth says the fight is not over yet.

official photo

The battle over a major shopping center known as the Gills Neck Village Center near Lewes has finally come to an end.

The developer has agreed to cut the proposed project from 215-thousand square feet down to 75-thousand square feet.

In addition it will forego a zoning request for intense for intense commercial use and instead accept a B 1 rezoning for 8 acres.  

The Wilmington News Journal reports that this will also mean that the developer will not place a YMCA and a community theater next to the shopping center.


MIDDLETOWN, Del. (AP) - State officials are touting new milestones in the effort to protect Delaware's bayshore region and promote the recreational opportunities it offers.

Gov. Jack Markell plans to join state and federal officials Friday to announce the preservation of a key property at Thousand Acre Marsh. They'll also discuss the launch of a byway, the opening of a new trail and wildlife viewing platform and a new branding design. 

The Delaware Bayshore Initiative promotes the bayshore as a conservation and recreation area.

creative commons

The Lewes City Council has decided to continue with the moratorium on special exemptions in the commercial marina against residential structures.

WBOC reports that initially the town council had imposed the moratorium because of fears that large townhouses would eat up commercial space.

The action was taken so that the council can review a report from planning consultants on what should be done.

The moratorium will last another six months.

Lucio Eastman / Free State Project

Openly carrying firearms in the city buildings and other functions in Bethany Beach may soon be banned.

At a work session this week Mayor Jack Gordon said the prohibition got the unanimous back from the town council.

Those with concealed weapons permits would still be allowed to carry their arms but they must be kept out of sight.

The Wilmington News Journal reports that the action was prompted by an incident at a Newark City Council meeting where residents openly carried weapons into a meeting.

creative commons

The Lewes City Council has conditionally approved a measure that would keep people from openly carrying weapons into municipal settings.

The Salisbury Daily Times reports that the town is using a new power given by state legislation which has not yet been signed by the governor.

Governor Jack Markell’s office says it has not yet gotten to his desk and the resort made implementation dependent upon the governor’s signature.

The resort currently restricts the right to open carry within the town limits with exception for hunters and police officers.

Data Centers LLC

The state of Delaware will spend a million dollars to bring a fiber-optic data line that connects Seaford Georgetown and Lewes.

In making his announcement Governor Jack Markell said that he hopes the project could be completed by the end of the year.

The Delaware Democrat said that the aim of the effort is to connect the remaining pockets in the state that do not have access to high-speed data lines.

The Wilmington News Journal reports that Fibertech will build the data system for businesses and Internet providers who can then buy access.

Dewey Beach logo

The decisions did not seem controversial but the Dewey Beach Town Council got some flak from local residents during a Saturday morning meeting.

Mayor Diane Hanson recently signed a contingency contract to buy two pieces of land along coastal highway adjacent to the city hall.

But some homeowners said they were not happy with the use of public funds without a public hearing after an article appeared in the Cape Gazette.


There’s a new report that says Ocean City, Lewes and other coastal towns on Delmarva could be facing increased flooding over the next 15 to 30 years.

The reason: Climate change.

The report says that with a warmer and more disruptive climate it will become less feasible and more costly to adapt to the changing climate conditions.

Lewes Mayor Ted Becker told the Salisbury Daily Times that he knew there were parts of his community that are located in the flood plain.

Don Rush

Lewes is looking at joining a number of coastal resorts in dramatically expanding its restrictions on smoking.

At a September session Council member Bonnie Osler proposed that a smoking ban should be expanded from the city parks to include restrooms and guard beaches.

She noted that Rehoboth had recently limited smoking to certain designated locations along the beach.

Action on the proposal is not expected until the council’s October 6th meeting.

In August the Ocean City Town Council voted to limit smoking to designated areas.


Don Rush

REHOBOTH BEACH, Del. (AP) - Free parking has returned to Delaware's beach towns as summer comes to a close, but city officials say parking revenue was generally up this year.

Parking revenue was up in Rehoboth Beach, Lewes and Bethany Beach but was down in Dewey Beach.

In Rehoboth, more people were using the Parkmobile smartphone app to pay for parking. City manager Sharon Lynn says the number of transactions increased 26 percent this year. The city also saw a 2 percent increase in revenue from parking meters.


A small plane made an emergency landing on the beach in Lewes last night near Herring Point and Gordon’s Point.

Sussex County EMS officials say that the plane apparently lost power and was forced to make the emergency landing.

Only the pilot and the female passenger were on board and no one was injured.

Officials say there was no damage to the plane.

WBOC reports that witnesses say that pilot told them he was going to land on Route 1 but wound up on the beach instead.


Lewes Website

LEWES, Del. (AP) - Ted Becker has won an uncontested race for mayor in Lewes, and voters elected two others to the City Council this weekend.

The Salisbury Daily Times reports three candidates were vying for two seats on the council in the election Saturday. Rob Morgan and incumbent Bonnie Osler beat Mike Mahaffie for the two open seats.

Becker, the current deputy mayor in Lewes, was the only person to file for mayor. He was declared the winner and will be sworn in with the other winners May 19 unless there is an appeal.

Mayor of Lewes Retiring

Feb 17, 2014
Lewes website

Mayor James Ford III says he will not seek re-election in May after leading the city of Lewes for a decade.

Ford said he was not seeking another term because of business and family reasons.

Ford has been a resident of the resort since 1976 and owns a building contracting business that specializes in historic restoration.

Ford became Mayor in 2004.


Don Rush

The Lewes City Council voted unanimously to no longer provide free handicap spots at parking meters.

Beginning in May handicap drivers will have to pay the same as regular drivers.

Before last night’s vote Lewes was the only city in Delaware that provided the free parking spots.

But Lewes resident Tammi Morris who is handicapped told WBOC that she believes it was unfair to make handicap drivers pay.

She said that for many people who are in wheel chairs this will impose an additional burden on them.

creative commons wikimedia

Officials have confirmed it.

A 358-pound swordfish measuring 90 inches long was caught on September 7th by recreational angler Kurt Lorenz, who was fishing from the vessel known Candy’s Reel Choice out of Lewes.

It was caught off of Poor Man’s Canyon around 70 miles from the Virginia-Maryland coast.

But it’s still considered a Delaware catch because the boat originated out of port from the First State.

Mug Shot

Officials in Lewes are trying to decide the fate of the home of former pediatrician and convicted pedophile Earl Bradley who was found to have violated over a hundred children.

For a while the home had a for-sale sign but was never purchased.

So, Mayor Jim Ford said that the city was exploring alternative uses for the property other than a single home.

He told the Salisbury Daily Times that the town is currently discussing the future of the property with the bank.

One possibility, he said, was to create a 40-by-175-foot mini public park.

Cape May Ferry logo

LEWES, Del. (AP) - Delaware River and Bay Authority officials hope upgrades to the Cape May-Lewes ferry will help boost ticket sales.

The Cape Henlopen was rechristened on Monday. Director of Ferry Operations Heath Gehrke says renovations to three of the four vessels in the fleet include improved seating for customers, Wi-Fi access, flat-panel televisions, new floors and an improved concession stand. The renovations cost about $800,000.

Ferries carried 779,000 passengers between Cape May and Lewes in 2011, a third less than its ridership of 1.16 million 10 years earlier.


Delaware residents gathered in Lewes to hear what will be done to mitigate the impact of sea level rise along the coastline.

The during the three hour meeting last night Delaware state officials outlined proposals to meet the accelerating coastal erosion as well as the expected storm and flooding threats as global warming takes hold.

The options range from financing buyouts and coastal defenses to drafting a better land-use plans and development policies.

Sea Level Rise, 123rf.com

Today Delawareans will get a series of proposals to fend off the impact of sea-level rise on the coastline.

The plans developed by Delaware Bay Beach Work group come with a price tag ranging from 1.6 million to $200 million over the next thirty years.

The group plans to meet this morning at 10 am in Legislative Hall in Dover to review the costs and benefits.

The report found that 8-to-11 percent of the state’s land area could be flooded by the end of the century.


Summer time is just around the corner and the parking will no longer be free in some beach towns. 

On May 15 those visiting Bethany Beach will have to pony up some cash to park in beach lots and designated areas on Atlantic and Pennsylvania Avenues from First Street to Hollywood Street.

In addition, there will be paid parking on Garfield Parkway and the lots by PNC Bank and the fire department.


The Earl Bradley’s former home is expected to be sold off during an auction this May 15th with neighbors hoping to put behind them the former pediatrician who is serving life sentences for sexually assaulting more than 80 young children.

The house sits on the main road leading into downtown Lewes and is in foreclosure with a debt of $560-thousand owed to US Bank.

The Wilmington News Journal reports that one neighbor exclaimed, “Sell it. Get rid of it.”