News Briefs

December 28, 2012
Route 1 covered with sand north of IR bridge

Traffic in the northbound lanes of Route 1 at the Indian River Inlet bridge was limited to one lane Dec. 27 as crews from the Department of Transportation cleared sand off the road.

A wind from a nor'easter Dec. 26 blew sand from the dune onto the roadway. Sand drifts were still evident Thursday morning.

Cape district finalizes 2013 budget

Cape Henlopen school board unanimously passed the school district's nearly $90 million budget during its Dec. 13 meeting.

The budget is about $700,000 more than the zero-growth budget proposed earlier this year in the preliminary planning. The budget increased 1 percent over last year's budget, said Director of Business Operations Oliver Gumbs.
Increases in state contributions – referred to as Division II and Division III funds in the budget – provided to pay for increased energy and other costs accounted for the increase, he said.

"Those were the big pockets of money," Gumbs said.

Student enrollment in the district rose by 70 students, according to a Sept. 30 unit count.

Indian River schools increase security

Facebook rumors ran rampant recently, prompting Indian River school officials to take extra precautions Dec. 21 at district schools.

Superintendent Susan Bunting said district schools would have police officers in uniform stationed at every district school. Students also could enter the school building through a single entrance, she said.

Rumors had circulated about something happening at Sussex Central High School even before the tragic shooting in Connecticut Dec. 14, said Dave Maull, spokesman for the Indian River School District.

"The good thing is if it's on social media, we investigate thoroughly," he said.
Bunting said district officials investigated each of the rumors and found them to be without merit. State police resource officers stationed at Sussex Central and Indian River high schools assisted with the investigation, Maull said.

"The safety and security of students continues to be our No. 1 priority. However, any parent who does not wish to send his or her child to school on Friday can obtain an excused absence by providing a note to the school staff," Bunting wrote in a statement posted on the district website.

Beebe and Atkins’ family attempt to resolve case

Sussex County Superior Court Commissioner Alicia B. Howard cancelled a Dec. 12 scheduling conference between Beebe Medical Center and the family of Christina Atkins because the parties have agreed to participate in mediation.

Atkins was admitted to Beebe Medical Center in May 2011.  Her family says she suffered cardiac arrest while locked inside an emergency room restroom.

The Atkins, who filed the initial complaint Sept. 4, say no one at Beebe could open the restroom door for 10 minutes; by then, the family says, Christina Atkins was unconscious.  She was flown to A.I. duPont Hospital, where she died two days later at the age of 14.

Beebe filed an answer to the complaint Nov. 7, denying fault in Atkins’ death.

Beebe attorney Bradley J. Goewert wrote a Dec. 12 letter to Howard requesting the scheduling conference be cancelled because the parties had agreed to try to mediate the case outside of court.

Howard approved the cancellation the same day.  “It would be inefficient to schedule trial dates when this case might otherwise settle,” she wrote.

Rehoboth OKs Conch Island liquor store

Rehoboth Beach commissioners voted unanimously to approve a modification of the floor plan at Conch Island Key West Bar and Grill on Rehoboth Avenue.  The restaurant will remove one of its three bars and replace it with a packaged goods store.

Owner Bryan Derrickson, who attended the Dec. 21 commissioners meeting, said he wanted to open the packaged goods store to accommodate customers who do not want to drive to Route 1 or Rehoboth Avenue Extended.

Before the vote, Mayor Sam Cooper noted the restaurant’s history of noise violations.  The town building official said Conch Island had not received a noise violation since June 2011.

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