Categories
Government & Politics milford-live

Milford Council approves new daycare center

by Terry Rogers

On Monday, July 27, Milford City Council approved a request from Hattie Harris to open a new daycare center, known as the Triumph Youth Center, at 350 Milford-Harrington Highway. The new daycare center will be located in a shopping center in a section that was formerly a convenience store.

“There was a gas station at the location but the pumps and tanks have since been removed,” Rob Pierce, City Planner, said. “The applicant is planning to completely restripe the parking lot and will be leasing land behind the facility for a fenced playground. A striped crosswalk will be installed for safe access to the playground. Children will be dropped off and picked up in the back of the building as well. Planning and Zoning approved the request with one no vote. The person who voted no felt the daycare was too close to the liquor store in the shopping center.”

Pierce explained that there is a provision in City Code that prevents an establishment that sells liquor from opening near a church, school or daycare center. However, if a daycare center wants to open near a liquor store, there is nothing that prevents them from doing so. Pierce stated that if the liquor store should close and remain closed for 12 months, they would not be able to open again in that location based on code.

Acting City Solicitor Jamie Moore stated that the Alcoholic Beverage Commission had wording in their regulations regarding where liquor stores could be located in relation to churches, schools and daycares. He explained that the City Code is similar to the ABC regulations. Chief of Police Kenny Brown told Council that the liquor store was not a problem for the police.

“This was a convenience store but now it is an empty building,” Councilman Todd Culotta said. “We really don’t want to make this to complicated.”

Phillip McGinnis, who was at the meeting representing Harris, stated that he felt the application was fair.

“Hattie Harris picked out this location knowing there was a liquor store there,” McGinniss said. “We added a hashed crosswalk to the playground. As for the liquor store, these are small children, not teens. The entrance and exit is in the back while the liquor store entrance is in the front. Children will be supervised at all times. Honestly, a parent has the option whether or not to use this daycare facility.”

The conditional use request passed with a vote of 5 to 3. Councilman Dan Mirabello felt that the application was inconsistent with Code while Councilman Andy Fulton felt that putting a daycare this close to a liquor store did not meet the intent of the law. Councilman Brian Baer also voted no but did not state a reason.

Councilman Mike Boyer voted yes although he felt that the selection of the site was not the best decision. Councilman Culotta voted yes because daycares are needed and that there were other areas in Milford with daycares in close proximity to liquor stores. Councilman Doug Morrow stated that he was reluctantly voting yes because daycares were needed. Councilman Jason James also reluctantly voted yes as council should not impede decisions on placement of the business. Both Councilman Morrow and Councilman James were pleased that the pick up and drop off of children would be in the back of the building, away from the entrance of the liquor store.

“I, too, reluctantly vote yes,” Councilwoman Katrina Wilson said. “It did ease my mind to hear about the entrance and exits in the rear. As far as daycare centers, there are not enough and although I am concerned about a daycare next to a liquor store, I see the need in our town for affordable daycare.”

Categories
Schools

Milford Board of Education discusses school opening options

by Terry Rogers

 

 

On Monday, July 20, Milford School District Board of Education spent several hours discussing the State of Delaware School Reopening Plan which was released on Thursday, July 16. Superintendent Dr. Kevin Dickerson, went through the document allowing board members to ask questions as he did.

“We just received the plan on Thursday at 4 PM so we have only had a little time to look over everything,” Dr. Dickerson said. “We needed to go through and see where we needed to make plans depending on which of the three scenarios the state says we are able to use. We know there are people who are going to be cautious and not want their children in a classroom while others want their child to go to school. We understand we need significant family input, especially as we move forward, we want our families to have some choices.”

Board Member David Vezmar pointed out that there was a regular Board Meeting planned for August 3 and he felt that this meeting would be for the board to ask planning-related questions.

“On August 3, we will probably be in the decision-making process,” Vezmar said. “I know that we normally have public comment at the beginning of the meeting. I know that there will be parents and community members who have questions and concerns. If possible, we need to either move public comment after the discussion about the reopening of schools or add an additional public comment section so that people can be heard. I also think we need to have a minimalized agenda on August 3 as we may spend a lot of time on this.”

The state issued a 34-page document outlining three scenarios that districts would follow depending on the spread of COVID-19 in early August. Scenario 1 would be fully open with students in classrooms but with social distancing and face covering requirements. Scenario 2 would be a hybrid version of school with some virtual learning and some classroom learning. If COVID-19 cases were widespread in the district, Scenario 3 would be totally remote learning like what students used in the spring. Vezmar asked whether the district was locked into the Scenario 2 if that is what the state suggests or could they err on the side of caution and remain in Scenario 3.

“I am participating in more statewide meetings this week,” Dr. Dickerson said. “I know we have some flexibility to craft the plan we use but I am not sure how much flexibility we have. We will have to get some guidance on this as we move forward.”

Dr. Dickerson explained that when the work groups in the district read the proposals from the state, they decided that any area shown as something the district “should” do, Milford would make a “must” do. He explained that face coverings and hygiene practices will be required. Although the district has some flexibility with face coverings in Pre-Kindergarten through Grade 3, during the summer program, the district has required face coverings for all students with no issues. The district has a supply of one-time use masks that can be given to students who don’t have a face covering or who forget to bring one to school.

“We do have some issues with students who don’t grasp the concept of six feet,” Dr. Dickerson said. “We will have some situations where we will need a little more support. What we are seeing with the face-coverings is that students are not having an issue with them. The district has been able to purchase face coverings with a clear section so students can see the mouth of the teacher, something that is important for ESL and other language classes.” Laura Manges, Director of Student Services, explained that any student or teacher who has a medical condition that prevents them from wearing a face covering will be handled on a case-by-case basis. Students will be permitted to wear their own masks and guidelines will be provided regarding what constitutes an appropriate face-covering to meet school dress code.

Board Member Rony Baltzar-Lopez suggested that the district err on the side of caution considering the proximity of the district to the beach area where there have been upticks in cases. He also reminded the Board that the district has 37 percent low income students and that no matter what method is chosen, those students must be taken into consideration so that they do not fall any farther behind.

“I’ve made no secret about the fact that I personally do not feel it is a good idea to put kids in classrooms in September,” Vezmar said. “If we remain in the current state, a full no school building, I would suggest that teachers, at least those who want to do so, be able to teach from their classroom using Zoom or whatever method they choose. They have their smart boards, their supplies. I think that may make it easier for the teacher, it would be one person in the classroom, so I think that might make things a little less stressful.”

Jon LoBiondo, Director of Transportation, explained that transportation was particularly challenging with the state recommendations.

“I was glad that we had summer school as we were able to attempt transportation on a much smaller scale,” LoBiondo said. “Other districts have been watching us to see how transportation to summer school goes and I have been very pleased. Our concerns are that if we do the social distancing we must do on buses, we can have 22 students on the bus. We have buses in the district with 50 to 60 children on them. We will need to double the bus capacity, whether with additional runs or added buses to make this happen.”

Bus contractors and drivers were given the same cleaning products used by the schools in classrooms. After each run, the drivers and contractors spray and wipe the handrails, backs of seats and any seat where a child was sitting. Drivers and students are required to wear face coverings, but the district is allowing face shields should a driver or student prefer that type of covering.

Anyone who has suggestions, questions or comments can email Dr. Dickerson at KDickerson@milford.k12.de.us. Public comment will be permitted at the August 3 board meeting which will be held virtually. The link for the meeting will be posted on the meeting agenda under the Board tab on the Milford School District website.

Categories
Police & Fire

*Updated* Suspicious death at home on Pennsylvania Avenue

The Milford Police Department’s Criminal Division has identified the victim in this case as David W. Parcher, 70 of Milford, Delaware. Further updates will be provided as they become available.

Original Release:

Released By Sgt. Robert Masten On 07.28.2020 Incident #51.20.7358 @0340 Hours
On 07.28.2020 at approximately 3:40 am officers from the Milford Police Department’s Patrol Division responded to a home on Pennsylvania Avenue to a report of a possible shooting. Upon arrival officers located a 70 year old male who had been shot in the chest. The victim was transported by staff from the Carlisle Fire Company to the Bayhealth Sussex Campus. It was later learned the victim had succumbed to his injuries. The victim has been turned over to the Delaware Division of Forensic Science where an autopsy will be performed. The victim’s identity is being withheld at this time pending the notification of the next of kin. This investigation is ongoing an updates will be provided as they become available. Anyone with information about this matter is urged to call the Milford Police Department’s Criminal Division at 302.422.8081 or Crime Stoppers at 1.800.TIP.3333. Tips can also be submitted online at MilfordPoliceDE.org/TIPS or Delaware.CrimeStoppersWeb.com

 

Categories
Health

When summer bugs bite

When summer weather hits, it’s important to know how to deal with creepy, crawly insects. Their bites may not pose a serious health hazard, but they can be itchy, uncomfortable, and may cause illnesses. Thanks to a mild winter, these pesky insects will most likely be more rampant.

Bayhealth Primary Care, Milford Physician Antonio D. Zarraga, MD, suggests that prevention may lessen negative insect contacts. “It’s safe for adults and children older than two years old to use insect repellent containing DEET,” he said. “It lasts for four to five hours. Don’t be afraid to use it.”

Perhaps one of the biggest nuisances of outdoor fun is the mosquito. Reactions to mosquito bites vary. Dr. Zarraga points out that mosquitoes are most active in early morning and at dusk. If preventive measures like wearing long sleeves and using repellent don’t work, you can treat bites with a topical treatment, such as Calamine lotion, or by taking an antihistamine like Zyrtec at night to calm the itches. Of course, these options are off the table for those who have a serious allergic reaction to mosquito bites that requires an EpiPen®.

Ticks can also wreak havoc. Delaware ranks eighth nationally for Lyme disease. “We are an endemic area for Lyme disease,” said Dr. Zarraga. Once again, prevention is worth the effort. Wear clothing to cover all exposed areas when outdoors. Check for ticks right away, and gently remove them with tweezers. “Don’t smother them with nail polish or Vaseline.”

In Delaware, several kinds of ticks potentially carry other illnesses in addition to Lyme disease. But contact with a tick does not necessarily result in the disease. If bitten, people need to watch the area. “The Lyme rash — characterized by redness with a bull’s-eye center — takes two weeks to a month after the bite to present. It takes a month for the antibodies to develop, to show up in a blood test, so we don’t test until a month later,” explained Dr. Zarraga. However, patients don’t have to be tested to be treated. Less than 50 percent of people have a rash, so it’s important to watch for other signs such as pain in the joints or muscles, whole-body fatigue or fever, or stiffness or swelling of the joints.

Categories
Culture Headlines milford-live Weekly Archives

The Weekly Review – July 28, 2020

Read this week’s edition at https://new.delawarelive.com/milfordlivede/review/July28-1.pdf

Headlines of the week:

  • Milford dog park opens – link photo to Facebook video
  • New US Postmaster Directive Causes Confusion
  • Delawareans have mixed feelings about State Fair
  • Milford Board of Education Discusses School Opening Options
  • Milford School District Approves New Administrative Positions
  • Baltazar-Lopez wins school board election
  • Killen’s Pond water park to reopen Friday after deep clean
  • Latest emergency order: Driving schools, senior centers can reopen

Plus Sports:

Faulkner continues to lead Milford LAX

 

Categories
milford-live Police & Fire

Amber Alert – Christobal Lopez

On Monday, July 27, 2020, the Georgetown Police Department is actively searching for a missing child, 2-year-old CRISTOBAL L. LOPEZ. The Georgetown Police Department received information today that Cristobal has been missing since sometime between Saturday evening and Sunday morning. The preliminary investigation has determined that Cristobal was last seen on the evening of July 25, 2020, in the unit block of South Front Street, Georgetown, while in the custody of the child’s cousin. On Sunday, July 26, 2020 at approximately 5:00 a.m. the cousin discovered that Cristobal had been taken by his mother 26-year-old ANGELINA L. LOPEZ of Seaford, DE. Angelina had made arrangements to stay at her cousin’s house for the evening to visit with her child. Angelina has an active court order indicating that the child is to remain in the custody of the cousin and Angelina is to have no unlawful contact or unsupervised visits with Cristobal.

Cristobal is a two-year-old white, Hispanic male child with brown hair and brown eyes. He was last seen wearing blues shoes and a yellow t-shirt.

Angelina is a white Hispanic female, 5’00” tall, 150 lbs., with brown hair and brown eyes. She was last seen wearing a long-sleeve black shirt and blue pants. It was discovered that Angelina took a black and light blue car seat from the cousin’s residence.

Detectives believe the child may be in imminent danger. There is no vehicle information at this time.

An active felony warrant for breach of release for Angelina is currently being obtained by the Georgetown Police Department with further charges pending.

Anyone with information regarding their whereabouts should call 911 immediately. Information and inquiries should be referred to the Georgetown Public Information Officer, Detective Joseph Melvin at 302-856-6613. Citizens may also call Delaware crime stoppers at 1-800-TIP-3333 or via the internet at http://www.delaware.crimestoppersweb.com

Categories
Sports

Faulkner continues to lead Milford LAX

By Kevin Eickman

Ten years may seem like a long time. In those ten years, however, it has been a great pleasure to watch the Milford lacrosse team go from a laughingstock to a team that has been consistently on the rise. While the graph has not always been pointing straight up during this time, make no mistake about it, Milford lacrosse has been crossing the divide of the have and have not’s of Delaware High School lacrosse. At the helm for the last seven of those years has been 2006 graduate, Blake Faulkner.

The last time the Buccaneers took the field was a 20-8 defeat at the hands of 2019 Division I State Title runners-up, Salesianum. It was a road game against a top-ranked team that saw Milford fall behind early, it was also a game in which Milford realized that it could compete against the “big boys.” After an atrocious first quarter, filled with nerves and mistakes, Milford found itself behind 10-1 as the horn sounded for the end of the first quarter. The Buccaneers would outscore their hosts 10-7 the rest of the game. That was the moment, that was the time that Faulkner really knew that his team was on the way to taking the next step. “We had a team filled with juniors and they didn’t hang their heads, they didn’t quit, they just dug in and played the best three-quarters of lacrosse I had ever seen from them,” he said.

Milford raised the bar that evening and with an upgraded schedule and a solid core of returning seniors, the mark for this year’s squad was set high. And then along came COVID-19. “I can’t tell you how much I hurt for those guys, Alex Herka, Conor Christie, Charles Hayes and all the rest of the returning seniors, were all poised for big a big senior season,” Faulkner continued. “In the grand scale of what is going on in the world today, it’s not the greatest of tragedies, but it really is a regret that they didn’t get a chance to play that one final season together.”

During his time as a student at Milford, Faulkner enjoyed the school’s culture and has always been keen at coming back to lead the lacrosse team he was once a part of. “This was a fantastic place to go to school. I was with the friends that I grew up with and the teachers and staff were fantastic,” he said. “I always knew in my heart that I wanted to coach lacrosse here, now that I am doing it, I am having a great time watching the program grow. In my mind, we are poised to take the next step and prove what kind of team we can be.”

Faulkner chose to play only one year of college lacrosse, a decision that he looks back on with a bit of regret, but at the time it was the decision that was best for his educational goals. “I would have liked to have played; it just didn’t fit my path at the time. Would I have liked to have played? Yes,” Faulkner said. “Without that decision, however, I wouldn’t be where I am today.”

Faulkner graduated from Delaware State University with a degree in Mathematics Education and presently teaches at Cape Henlopen, performing double duty as the Milford coach. He is in the process of pursuing his Master’s in Administration and plans to continue on the path to receive his Doctorate. “There is always value in education, it is something I preach to my students and my players,” he said.

Faulkner likes to spend his off time with his family, going to the beach and playing golf. He is in a serious relationship with his girlfriend Susan Jordan. His parents are Paul and Ann, with a sister named Amber.

Categories
Headlines Schools

Milford School District approves new administrative positions

by Terry Rogers

 

 

On Monday, July 20, Milford School District Board of Education voted to approve two new administrative positions. The first position is an Equity and Diversity Leadership position while the second is a Public Information Officer position.

“I met this week with the new State Equity Officer, Jim Simmons to talk through how we can increase awareness of equity and access as well as how we should approach it as a district for all of us in the community,” Dr. Kevin Dickerson, Superintendent, said. “What we are looking for is a specialist or supervisor which would give us a really good lens on diversity. We serve a very diverse district and we want to be sure we serve all members of the community fairly.”

Dr. Dickerson explained that the district gave a supervisor back to the state last year and that there is Title I grant funding available for such a position. There is some concern about enrollment this year which is currently 298.9. At 300, districts are provided additional positions. However, with uncertainty about enrollment due to the COVID-19 pandemic, there is some concern unit counts may be lower this year.

“I’ve read through this and I think it is obviously a needed position,” Board Member David Vezmar said. “The only thing that concerns me is that it encompasses a lot of skillsets. You are asking for different supervisory skills, data lead. I just want to be sure we don’t create a position that we are looking for such a wide range of skillsets we water down the important ones.”

Dr. Dickerson explained that the many skillsets actually overlapped each other and that it was determined that the skillsets listed would work well in a human resources capacity to ensure that the district is hiring a diverse staff.

“I want to commend you for talking this initiative,” Board Member Rony Baltazar-Lopez. “I do suggest that if you are seeking bilingual although it does not have to be required, it needs to be preferred in order to offer good communication. We also want this person to review disciplinary policies to ensure fair and equitable discipline for all students.”

The Board of Education voted five to two for the new position with Board Members Kris Thompson and Jason Miller voting against the proposal.

In addition to the Equity and Diversity Leadership position, the Board also agreed to create a Public Information Officer position.

“We’ve talked about this position for quite a few years,” Dr. Dickerson said. “We really feel the need to have a public information officer and we do have funding sources for the position.”

Dr. Jason Peel, Director of Human Resources and School Climate, explained that the position would require an individual who has experience with communications, which would include press releases, articles, branding and social media.

“Some of the things we have been paying for, we can bring in-house,” Dr. Peel said. “They would keep up with the website and handle social media. It would be more than just posting on social media, but understanding when to post and using campaigns to promote the district. It would be more like communications and marketing.”

Dr. Dickerson stated that the biggest part is celebrating the students and the staff.

“We want to shine a light on the good things our kids are doing and our staff members,” Dr. Dickerson said. “We want people to know some of the awards they get and the impact they have on our community. With the school opening process, we need really good communication and I feel now, more than ever, we need a position like this.”

Baltazar-Lopez, who is a Public Information Officer, suggested that because Dr. Dickerson is the spokesperson for the District, that he approve any message issued. The position will be paid the first year using CARES Act funding and may use academic excellence units to cover the cost in future years.

The new position passed six to one with Jason Miller the only dissenting vote.

Categories
Government & Politics Headlines

New US Postmaster directive causes confusion

by Terry Rogers

 On July 10, Louis DeJoy, the newly appointed United States Postmaster General, issued directives designed to reduce costs in the United States Postal Service. The organization, which has suffered financial difficulties for years, has seen expenses grow during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“This operational pivot is long overdue and today, we are talking about the first step in a journey we must take together, for the health and stability of the Postal Service,” the directive read. “The shifts will be simple, but they will be challenging as we seek to change our culture and move away from past practices previously used.”

The directive requires all letter carriers to load their vehicles, run their route, and return on time. If delivery trucks were delayed or mail was not sorted before they were required to start their route, the mail would be left behind and delivered the next day. The directive also stated that overtime would no longer be authorized. However, local post offices are interpreting the directive differently.

According to the Milford Post Office, the directive no longer allows doubled routes which often occur when a letter carrier is out sick or on vacation, something that many postmasters around the country have also interpreted. This interpretation has led many people in the Milford area to not receive mail for more than a week. Adding to this problem is that the phone in the Milford Post Office has been out of order for more than a week as well, making it difficult for residents and businesses to contact the office to find out what was happening with their mail.

“The mailman has not been through our neighborhood since Wednesday,” resident Susan Dietz Geise said. “My neighbor and I have both been putting mail in our boxes that was never picked up. I had a package that said out for delivery Thursday and said it was undeliverable. Same thing happened Friday.”

Faith Gonzalez also stated that she has received packages but no other type of mail since Monday, July 13, despite the fact that Informed Delivery, the email program that provides photos of the mail to be delivered that day, showed that she should have received mail.

Government officials point out that federal law requires that the United States Postal Service must provide mail services to everyone in America promptly, efficiently, and reliably. Despite financial issues in the postal service, they express concerns that operational decisions could knowingly cause the USPS to fail to meet its own service delivery standards and cause harm to many residents across the country.

Many postal workers expressed dismay at the new directive, stating that there were concerns that mail left behind each day would cause a backlog. However, the directive states that all mail pieces that were left behind be logged and distributed the next day. Carriers were not to return to the distribution center to reload trucks and run an additional route, a decision that the new Postmaster General felt would “force new efficiencies in the system.”

“The Postal Service is developing a business plan to ensure that we will be financially stable and able to continue to provide reliable, affordable, safe and secure delivery of mail, packages, and other communications to all Americans as a vital part of the nation’s critical infrastructure,” Dave Partenheimer, a spokesman for the United States Postal Service said. “The overall plan is not yet finalized, but it will certainly include new and creative ways for us to fulfill our mission, and we will focus immediately on efficiency and items we can control, including adherence to the effective operating plans that we have developed.”

There has been resistance from letter carriers and the Postal Workers Union who believe the directive is counter to how postal workers have been trained for decades. The Union claims that postal workers feel they have a duty to deliver the mail in a timely manner and that the new directives are requiring them to delay mail that should be delivered.

DeJoy is focusing on cost and making the postal service financially solvent. The agency requested $75 billion from Congress to cover losses related to the pandemic. In May, they announced they would access a $10 billion loan and prioritize payments in order to remain operational. Previously, the USPS was expected to run out of money by September 2020 but the loan could help them remain operational by May 2021.

Although mail volume dropped during the pandemic, package deliveries increased significantly. This led to expenses growing faster than revenue, losing $651 million in May. DeJoy, who has no direct postal experience, but a significant amount of experience in logistics, began implementing changes almost as soon as he took office, stating that the USPS business model was “expensive and inflexible.”

“I did not accept this position in spite of these challenges, I accepted this position because of them,” DeJoy said. “I want to put this institution on a trajectory for success.”

Categories
Culture Headlines

Delawareans have mixed feelings about State Fair

by Terry Rogers

 The Delaware State Fair opened on Thursday, July 23 with no concerts, reduced vendor participation, and social distancing rules. Face coverings are required when indoors and inside exhibit areas as well as outside where it is difficult to social distance. The lack of concerts and announcements that many popular vendors will not be at the Fair this year has led to mixed feelings about attendance.

“Not going anywhere, except essentials, with mandatory mask requirements,” Joe Wells said. Charlene Wildonger also stated that she would not be attending due to mask requirements. Yvonne Kenton Lynch stated the lack of concerts for not going this year. Some who were against masks believed that the heat, which is often excessive during the fair, would be dangerous.

 JoAnn Ianire Elliott, stated that because people would not be able to social distance in many areas of the Fair it would be dangerous not to require masks both inside and outside.

“I’m surprised they are having it at all,” Elliott said. “I don’t see where many people will go. The rides are being brought in and I don’t see the people who work them cleaning everything after each person gets off a ride.”

Catherine Walls posted on social media that she was a “card-carrying, stock-holding, fan of the Delaware State Fair she could not see how they could keep things safe in the midst of a pandemic.

“Contrary to what non-scientists proclaim, sunshine is not the same intensity as UV sterilization,” Walls said. “Even if it were, it can’t contact surfaces that are in the shade.”

There have been suggestions that the Delaware State Fair choose a different time of year for the celebration due to the weather conditions at the end of July.

“Every year, this fair happens during the hottest, grossest most unbearably humid week of the year,” Nadia Zychal said. “I think the state should consider moving the date to a more reasonably comfortable season. COVID or not, that is why I end up never going.”

Despite those who say they will not go to the Fair, there were quite a few who not only said they planned to attend but did so on opening day.

“Just got home,” Holly Elaine Marie said on the Delaware State Fair Facebook page. “It was hot but fun. All workers had masks on and two-thirds of the people had them on as well. Sanitizer stations everywhere. And every game employee reminded us to sanitize after and before games. It was not busy at all, plenty of space to social distance.”

Donna Bishop agreed after attending the first day, stating that the Fair team had “done a great job” and that she felt safer there than in other places. Kylee Smith said that the grounds were very clean and that the staff did a good job keeping things sanitized as well as reminding people to wear masks when necessary.

“My husband and I have been there two times with our newborn son,” Whitney Clendaniel said. “It’s good to know that staff is taking so many precautions to keep everyone safe. We will definitely be back. It’s not the same and that’s sad, but I’m not going to miss out on a tradition that I’ve had for almost 30 years and passing it down to my kids that hopefully one day they can pass down to their kids.”

The Delaware State Fair runs through Saturday, August 1.