Butterflies, bars, marshes, tunnels and demolition

This Rehoboth Beach house at the corner of New Castle and Bayard is slated for demolition sometime after Sept. 16. BY DENNIS FORNEY
August 23, 2013

A friend told me she and others have noticed a ton of butterflies this summer. “I’m hearing that means a hard winter ahead,” she said. I’ll be keeping an eye on the monarch migration that should start in a few weeks. Maybe they will offer some clues, along with the stripes on the woolly bears, the berries on the holly trees, the thickness of the coats on deer as winter approaches and the amount of acorns that fall from oak trees.

If the heavy rains we’ve been experiencing this summer roll on into the winter, we might very well be pushing a lot of snow when the cold settles in.

Dewey bars and Lewes noise

An anonymous memo rolled across my desk this week suggesting that Dewey Beach could save itself a lot of heartache and law enforcement expense if it rolled back the closing hour at bars from 1 a.m. to 11 p.m. That might save a lot of money over the long haul but given Dewey’s history, it would probably rack up lots of legal bills up front from bar owners who would definitely take exception to the idea.

Some of Dewey’s ongoing issues deal with noise, and the beach town isn’t the only place where those concerns arise. Walking down Savannah Road in Lewes Tuesday night I fell in step with another walker who said the town is hearing complaints about music at the Lighthouse Restaurant at Fisherman’s Wharf and at the ferry terminal on Lewes Beach.

Lewes has a core value that says the town is a place of busy days and quiet nights. Simple solution: close the outside music down at sunset.

Prime Hook’s freshwater marsh

Kenny Hopkins, who keeps me advised on lots of things wild and otherwise, said the marsh unit of Prime Hook National Wildlife Refuge between Broadkill Beach Road and Primehook Beach Road is filling up with fresh water and showing strong growth of food-producing plants such as Japanese millet. He said this summer’s rains and judicious use of the water-control structures in that unit by refuge managers are showing positive signs for helping restore that freshwater marsh section that has been traditionally so productive. Plans for marsh restoration in the refuge should absolutely include working that unit - charged by the fresh waters flowing in from Prime Hook Creek - as a freshwater marsh system to help feed visiting migratory waterfowl in the winter.

Tunnels for Route 1 pedestrians?

Another note that rolled across the desk this week suggested that the task force looking at ways to make Route 1 between Lewes and Dewey Beach a safer place should consider a few tunnels under the highway for pedestrian crossings. Overhead pedestrian crossovers - which could require elevators to meet Americans with Disabilities Act requirements - could be prohibitively expensive. Tunnels wouldn’t require elevators, which could bring the expense way down. Whatever, tunnels, crosswalks and overpasses have to be considered for safety, and so that those living west of Route 1 aren’t held hostage by summer’s steady stream of traffic.

Changing face of Rehoboth

The one-and-a-half-story house at the corner of Bayard and New Castle in Rehoboth Beach will fall to a wrecking ball sometime after Sept. 16. So too the garage on the property. Joanne Perry in Rehoboth’s Building and Licensing Department said no plans have been submitted yet for a replacement house or for any subdivision of the property, which is listed on the demolition notice as Lots 6, 7 and 8. Nancy Alexander, director of the Rehoboth Beach Museum, said Rehoboth’s Historical Society takes photos of all structures in the resort town scheduled for demolition so there can be a record of them. She said she heard recently that the LaLa Land restaurant property on Wilmington Avenue has been sold. “I’d love to get in those two old houses. I don’t know what’s planned for them, but these days people don’t seem to be in the mood to buy such properties and then restore them.”

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