On civil unions, jazz, ships and 800,000 bricks

In Granada, Spain, a statue shows Christopher Columbus petitioning Queen Isabella for funds to finance his exploration of the new world.  The queen assented and Columbus went on to make quite a name for himself.  Some say it really was King Ferdinand who financed Columbus, happy to get him away from Isabella to whom Columbus was showing great attention. Replicas of two of Columbus's exploration caravels - the Niña and the Pinta - are scheduled to tie up at the city dock in Lewes Friday, June 8 for three days of tours. BY DENNIS FORNEY
May 18, 2012

Sussex County Clerk of the Peace George Parish said his office has issued more than 125 licenses for civil unions involving gay and lesbian couples since the first of the year.

That’s when Delaware’s law legalizing those unions went into effect. “That’s much more than I anticipated,” said Parish.  “But I can understand.  They waited so many years.”

Parish, openly opposed to same-sex marriage, said he separates his political viewpoints from his responsibilities as clerk of the peace. “We perform celebrated civil unions and memorable marriages.  They are conducted with complete respect and with every courtesy.  These are memorable and celebrated times in people’s lives.”

Parish said he expects to see legislation come forward in 2013 allowing same-sex marriage in Delaware.  He thinks Delaware law should be changed so that such matters would go to voter referendum.  “Delaware voters should have the right to vote on issues like these which require constitutional amendments. Of course, 30-plus states have had referendums on same-sex marriage and all have rejected it.”

Parish has announced that he won’t seek re-election to the clerk of the peace position.  He said he would seek the 4th councilmanic seat on Sussex County Council if George Cole doesn’t seek re-election in 2014.  A Republican, Parish said he wouldn’t primary Cole for the seat.  “I don’t challenge incumbent Republicans.” If Cole does decide to run for another term, Parish said he would look at other elected offices.

Parish said his Sussex office issues about 100 marriage licenses each month.  The civil union licenses are running at about 25 percent of that number.

Jazz festival spreading wings

Rehoboth Beach Jazz Festival promoters Denny Santangini and Leon Galitzin said this week that tickets are selling fast for the 23rd annual event scheduled for Thursday, Oct. 11 through Sunday, Oct. 14.  In a departure from the past, several of the main festival concerts will be held on the Cape Henlopen High School stage rather than in Rehoboth Beach Convention Center.  “The school has an amazing facility with a state-of-the-art stage and great acoustics.  It’s too nice not to use, and the school district is working with us very well,” said Galitzin. The high school theater and convention center both seat between 850 and 900.

The festival will open with acclaimed saxman Boney James on the stage at the high school for the Thursday night show. On Friday night, Brian Culbertson – playing keyboards and a variety of other instruments – will take the Cape High stage.

In addition to Saturday and Sunday shows at Rehoboth Beach Convention Center, Rehoboth Beach Jazz Festival will also be hosting events at Epworth United Methodist Church on Holland Glade Road and Timothy’s on Route 1.

Santangini said the fact that no alcohol can be served at the high school wouldn’t make a difference in ticket sales.  “People come for the music,” he said.  “They can eat and drink at the great restaurants we have in the area before and after the concerts.”

Every ticket sold for this year’s jazz festival will generate $1 for breast cancer and prostate cancer programs at Beebe Medical Center.

The jazz festival is also helping bring replicas of Columbus’s Niña and Pinta to the city dock in downtown Lewes Friday, June 8.  The vessels will be docked and open for tours through Sunday, June 10.

Still laying blocks at 77
I saw Bill Austin last week at a Beebe Medical Center event honoring his wife, Bonnie.  Bill has always been that button-down-collared and Oxford-shirted mason involved in many large projects up and down the Delmarva Peninsula.  “I supervised all the brick and block work for the new Cape Henlopen High School,” said Austin.  “We laid 10,000 cut-stone blocks for the school and something like 800,000 bricks.  It’s a very solid building. People are surprised when I tell them I’m still at it – 77 years old.  But it’s all supervising now and I enjoy what I do.”  Austin works for Joseph Rizzo and Sons Construction in New Castle.