Political Gossip and Tidbits Wandering About The Small Wonder That is Delaware- The 5/4/16 Edition

Strange handling of criminals here in Delaware is discussed in this Delaware tidbit update. Also, I know you waited for it….my analysis of the new sign ordinance in Sussex county. Thank me very much.

American Legion Post 28 Embezzlers-charges dropped?

First of all, this is damn odd.
Charges were brought against five men associated with Millsboro’s American Legion Post 28 with an explanation that an investigation is continuing.

Of course if there is additional criminal activity is discovered it must be investigated.

But it’s odd as hell to drop all charges, let these creep criminals go with a shrug by the Justice department that they have more investigating to do.

Usually the Justice department does not make a move until the investigation is complete.

None of the details are known about this, though there was much discussion of this matter at this past weekend’s Republican convention.

We’re keeping eagle eye on this story because what an awful gang these creeps are, stealing from American veterans like this.

From WXDE:

Delaware’s Department of Justice drops charges against four of five “Officers” at the American Legion Post #28 in Millsboro.

The five were arrested and charged earlier this month of being involved in an alleged $641,000 embezzlement scandal; this was after an investigation revealed that the suspects wrote and signed numerous checks out to cash, cashed the checks at local banks and kept the money for themselves. All the men, 65-year-old Sam Mauger of Millsboro, 65-year-old Jim Gallagher of Millsboro, 69-year-old Edward Mazewski, Michael Rooney and Charles Nimmericher were released pending a future court date.

The DOJ now says due to information discovered after the time that the men were arrested that requires additional investigation, charges have been dismissed against four of the men; charges are also expected to be dropped against the fifth suspect. A sixth suspect was initially identified for also stealing money, but that person is deceased.

The DOJ says a criminal investigation IS continuing.

Rich Collins bravely takes on problem of trash dumping in Sussex county.

We have Collins’ video to embed in this Blog post, if it works.


The text of Rep. Collins’ narrative on the Sussex county trash problem below.

We have a problem in Delaware and you can see it practically everywhere you look.

Litter is pervasive and there are dozens, if not hundreds, of illegal dump sites throughout our state.

In 2014 alone, the Delaware Department of Transportation picked-up more than 44-thousand bags of litter, six thousand car tires, and 300 appliances. Understand that is just from state-maintained roadways. It is only a fraction of what’s thoughtlessly discarded in our state annually.

This is an issue that goes beyond aesthetics. Discarded waste lowers our quality-of-life, hurts economic development, and degrades our environment. Frankly, it’s embarrassing.

It seems almost too big to get your arms around. There are at least a half-dozen state agencies with a stake in controlling littering and illegal dumping or dealing with its aftermath. There are some programs, like Adopt-a-Highway, that have proven helpful. The Department of Correction runs inmate clean-up crews that have done some great work.

Still, reducing littering and illegal dumping has not been a high enough priority. We haven’t devoted the resources to make a substantial impact, so we just go along treading water.

That needs to change.

Late last year I held informal discussions with agency representatives and business-people to begin this process. I have also been working with State Sen. Karen Peterson and others to advocate for starting a Delaware chapter of Keep America Beautiful.

Recently, I sponsored House Concurrent Resolution 40 with State Sen. Greg Lavelle. Passed unanimously in the General Assembly, this measure will form a task force charged with finding steps we can take to reverse the tide of discarded waste in our state.

These are things we can do. Taking a multi-pronged approach — focusing on clean-up, education, prevention, and holding violators accountable — I believe we can make a difference. We can make Delaware the show place it deserves to be.

Wilmington not using monies to help their crime? Well here’s another plan for the money

Note the bolded text below. Is there anything in that list of stipulations for Wilmington to get a million and a half bucks that is unreasonable?

sharing information on the deployment of officers and steps to increase community policing, develop better accountability, and improve shooting investigations

What in that small list of requirements for a million and a half bucks is so awful that Wilmington doesn’t want to do it?

Troubled by the effectiveness of the city’s policing efforts, and the reluctance of city officials to follow an independent commission’s crime reduction recommendations, JFC members attached a series of conditions to the $1,515,600 it earmarked for Wilmington. Those stipulations included sharing information on the deployment of officers and steps to increase community policing, develop better accountability, and improve shooting investigations.

“The mayor has made it clear they have no intention of complying with the conditions or using the money,” Rep. Short said. “I think we should reclaim and reissue these funds to fight the trafficking in illegal drugs in our state.”

State Rep. Steve Smyk, R-Lewes-Milton, a retired State Police trooper with more than 25 years of law enforcement experience, will also be a prime sponsor of the upcoming legislation. “Illicit drug activity is the dynamo of the criminal justice system,” he said. “The sale and abuse of controlled substances are responsible for a laundry list of crimes including prostitution, theft, robbery, and violent felonies. When we curtail the drug trade, we reduce countless other crimes springing from it.”

Under the bill Rep. Short will soon introduce, the money would be distributed through the same mechanism used for State Aid to Local Law Enforcement (SALLE) and Emergency Illegal Drug Enforcement (EIDE) programs.

Using the SALLE/EIDE protocols, the bill calls for each police department to apply for funds to be used to enhance drug enforcement as specified under EIDE. Such funds could be used for overtime, enhanced training, the purchase of equipment used for drug-fighting and drug-sniffing dogs. Each application would be considered and approved by the SALLE Committee.

So the mostly Sussex county contingent wants to take the earmarked money by the Joint Finance Council to fight the state’s drug problem.

Well the hell with Wilmington if they don’t want it!

Here’s hoping this idea wins.

DNREC tries to get us to like them.
Delaware has the most obnoxious bureaucracies in the country.

Now perhaps, even the bureaucracy knows there are obnoxious.

For they embark upon a plan to “streamline” the process. Which is a good idea, do not misunderstand.

But can I get an attaboy? Cause are they admitting they have problems?

Next, DELDOT. They will learn how to put better detours.


DNREC is launching an initiative to further streamline and expedite permitting, licensing and administrative processes, including management and storage of data throughout the Department.

The initiative, which moves forward with DNREC’s issuing of an RFP (request for proposals) for assistance in evaluating and redesigning agency administrative processes and performance improvement, is a significant next step in DNREC’s efforts to develop greater business efficiencies.

The plan builds on and extends improvements already achieved as part of Governor Jack Markell’s “rapid response” targeted turnaround times for permitting and business application reviews (Executive Order 9), while also enhancing transparency and public access to DNREC information and data.

Girls in Wilmington kill a school mate, get put on detention.

I am not making this up.

At the most recent query that I read online, the public is informed that the two girls who slammed that girls head into a sink (at least that’s the scuttlebutt) have been put on detention.

Say what?


Detention is what they do to students talking during class. For murder, well a little more is expected.

There is waaaaay more to this story than we know, hell even I know some stuff not yet released to the public.

Whether theft or murder, Delaware takes its time getting around to the action it seems.

Part of the narrative explaining the incident is that the girls didn’t mean to kill the girl.


You don’t get a free murder for not really meaning to kill the person.

The student, a sophomore at Howard High School of Technology in Wilmington, was 16-years-old. She was involved in an altercation with two other teens, said Alexandra M. Coppadge, the director of communications for the Wilmington mayor’s office. The altercation then turned physical, she said.

The altercation happened in a main floor girls bathroom around 8:15 a.m., just before classes were about to start, said Dr. Stanley Spoor, principal of Howard High School of Technology

Coppadge could not confirm what sparked the fight but said it was not gang related.

Medics performed CPR on the student on campus, ABC station WPVI-TV in Philadelphia reported. She was airlifted to a local hospital, where she was pronounced dead.

The cause of death has not been released.

Two students are being questioned in relation to the incident by police, Spoor said. Their identities have not been released.

Wilmington Mayor Dennis Williams said his heart was “broken” in a press conference.

“I’m so upset that the young lady lost her life today,” Williams said. “Things like this shouldn’t happen. My heart bleeds for the family, the kids that go to this school, administrators and our city.”

Victoria Gehrt, superintendent of the New Castle County Vocational Technical School District, called the student’s death an “unforeseen and unbelievable tragedy.”

“I’d like to reinforce to all that Howard [High School of Technology] is a safe school for our students.

Doug Hudson named on Sussex county planning and zoning.

former Delaware State trooper will join the Sussex County Planning and Zoning Commission.

Douglas Hudson, who’s now a real estate agent and also was once a builder, was approved at Tuesday’s Sussex County Council meeting….after addressing a few questions about how he views his new role, and the effects of an updated comprehensive land use plan…

“I think each land use proposal should be dealt with in and of itself, very carefully. It has to be within the constraints of that plan and the zoning laws. I think the Planning and Zoning Commission could offer a lot of input to County Council when it comes to zoning changes and things like that.”

Hudson was nominated last month by Council member George Cole to fill the vacancy created by the resignation of Rodney Smith, who stepped down after 12 years on the commission for health reasons.

Hudson spent 27 years with Delaware State Police.

I would point out, ahem, that Hudson works for Beachbound reality, the agency owned by Rob Arlett.

Not that there’s anything wrong with that, but let’s put it out there.

And nowhere have I seen indicator of just what party Douglas belongs to.

Sussex county sign code

 Newly Defined Terms
1. Abandoned On-Premises / Off-Premises Signs
2. Public Lands
3. Sign Copy
4. Sign Face
5. Sign Structure
6. Changeable Sign
7. Non-Conforming Sign
8. V Sign

 Revised Definitions
1. Animated Signs
2. Multi-faced Signs
3. Bulletin Board
4. Electronic Message Center (EMC) A. On-Premises Electronic Message Center B. Off-Premises Electronic Message Center

 Definitions Related to Electronic Message Centers
1. Candela & Candela Per Square Meter
2. Foot Candle
3. Illuminance
4. Luminance
5. Lux
6. Nit
7. SI

Proposed Signs to be Prohibited
 Animated Signs  Abandoned Signs which have been abandoned for 6 months  Mirror Signs  V Signs  Signs with more than 2 sign faces

Fees & Permitting
 Removed language requiring identification of sign owner and permit number on the sign
 Increased fees:  Construction permit Current – 50 cents / square foot – $25 minimum for signs > 32 square feet Proposed – 65 cents / square foot – $32 minimum for signs > 32 square feet 

Annual fees Current – 25 cents / square foot – $25 minimum for signs > 32 square feet – $7.50 one-time fee for signs < 32 square feet Proposed – 32 cents / square foot – $32 minimum for signs > 32 square feet – $10 one-time fee for signs < 32 square feet

On-Premises Signs

1. On-premises wall size limitation language  Current – 150 square feet max or 15 percent of total footage of wall area where wall exceeds 1,000 square feet  Proposed – 150 square feet maximum

2. On-premises Ground Sign  Current – One sign allowed per street or road frontage per parcel  Proposed – One sign allowed per parcel

Off-Premises Signs

1. Current  Distinguishes between signs which are less than 200 square feet from signs which are greater than 200 square feet  Difference is that the side yard setback is less for the smaller signs Proposed  Removes that distinction  Treats all off-premises signs the same

2. Current  Front Yard Setback – 25 feet  Rear Yard Setback – None  Side Yard Setback – 20 feet / 50 feet Proposed  Front Yard Setback – 40 feet  Rear Yard Setback – Equal to the required rear yard setback for a building in that district  Side Yard Setback – 50 feet

3. Current  Separation distance of 300 feet from dwelling, church, school, or public lands Proposed  Separation distance of 500 feet from dwelling, church, school, or public lands Public Lands Definition  Land use for a park, recreation area, historical site, wildlife refuge, public forest land, preservation land, or greenway  Owned by U.S., State, municipality, or political subdivision thereof  Includes lands placed in an agricultural preservation program  Expressly excludes public roads, streets, and right-of-ways

4. Current  Separation distance of 300 feet from other off-premises signs Proposed  Separation distance of 1,000 feet from other off-premises signs  Separation distance of 50 feet from on-premises signs

Off-Premises Signs – Height

 Current – Height limitation of 25 feet  Proposed – Height limitation of 35 feet

Off-Premises Signs – Miscellaneous

 Proposed  Express limitation of no more than 2 signs per off-premises sign structure  No side can exceed 300 square feet – status quo  Stacked and side-by-side off-premises signs expressly prohibited  No variances allowed for off-premises signs  Applicants for a special use exception must provide a Letter of No Objection from DelDOT


 Current  Disposal fee – $25  Proposed  Removal fee – $100  Liable for fines of not less than $100 up to $1,000 – each day is considered a separate offense

Lumination Standards

 Proposed language to insert in addition to current standards  Signs with external illumination must be fully shielded  Maximum luminance level of 250 Nits beginning 1/2 hour before sunset until sunrise

Electronic Message Centers

 New Section of Code to be created for EMCs  Removed and consolidated previous references to EMCs  Only allowed in B-1, M, UB, C-1, CR-1, LI-1, LI-2, and HI-1 districts – status quo  Messages must be fixed for 10 seconds  Change in message copy must be completed in 1 second or less  Default provision to freeze sign or shut down if malfunction occurs  Prohibition on animation, flash, and scrolling  Must comply with luminance standards  Automatic dimming controls required  Applicant must supply documentation to confirm  Prohibition on signs which attempt to direct traffic or appear similar to traffic signs  Sign copy must remain fixed from sunset to sunrise  No noises may be emitted from EMCs  No variances allowed from EMC requirements  On-Premises EMCs permissible with special exception  Off-Premises EMCs prohibited

Non-Conforming Off-Premises Signs

 May be maintained unless totally destroyed  Prohibition on reconstruction, expansion, or re-erection  Conversion of non-conforming, off-premises signs to electronic message centers is prohibited  Signs which are totally destroyed cannot be re-erected  Definition of total destruction  50 percent or more of supporting piles or structure  75 percent or more of the facing  25 percent of the piles or structure and 50 percent of the facing

Mr. Cole introduced the Proposed Ordinance entitled “AN ORDINANCE TO AMEND THE CODE OF SUSSEX COUNTY, CHAPTER 115 (“ZONING”), ARTICLE XXI (“SIGNS”). The Proposed Ordinance will be advertised for Public Hearing.

Mr. Lawson presented the following timeline relative to the Proposed Ordinance relating to signs:
 Introduction of Proposed Ordinance – April 19, 2016  Planning and Zoning Commission Public Hearing – May 12, 2016  Council Public Hearing – May 24, 2016

This schedule will allow sufficient time for the County to meet the moratorium deadline of June 15, 2016.

Oh my goodness, the proposed new Sussex county sign language is quite interesting. Not that I know much about signs or anything, but I gave it a once over, above.

The bolded text is the proposed changes to the current sign ordinance.

The deadline for Sussex county council to finish this sign mess is 6/15/16. There will be a hearing before the planning and zoning commission on 5/12/16 with a hearing at the county council on 5/24/16.

It looks like fees for putting up signs has gone up. I had no idea the county even charged fees to put up signs. The fees are based on the size of the sign.

We have something called “on premise” signs. I must guess this would include big paintings on the side of the building, signs stuck in the same land as the business being advertised sits upon, that kind of thing. This change limits it to one sign allowed per parcel.

Off premises signs must include the big billboards on the side of the road. I must suppose that whoever owns that land charges a fee for use of the land. All off -premise signs will be the same for all signs regardless of size.

It looks there will be new restrictions of the feet required for a sign to be placed off premise in terms of what is nearby.

Currently there is a required separation distance of 300 feet of an off-premise sign versus another off-premise sign. Now the distance will be 1,000 feet.

That’s quite a change, I suppose to keep endless billboards from blocking the roadside view.

The most intriguing part of this proposed updated sign ordinance is this new category of “electronic messagedelpoli5.4.16signs centers”.

This would be those signs that use electricity to illuminate words on a sign, said words sometimes scrolls by, sometimes they are stationary. We see them all the time outside of a business. Even my church has one.

There is proposed a whole new slew of standards for these signs as I’m willing to bet the current ordinance does not address this sort of thing.

There are restrictions on how bright the lights can be, how much they can blink, they cannot look like a red light….yada, yada.

There is currently a moratorium on allowing new signs so the county council has to get on this.

Now they have my analysis as an aid.

Thank me very much.

I do not respond to comments on my posts. I certainly have no problem with such commentary and, indeed, encourage it. But I’ve written my piece and I don’t want to argue it further.
Please feel free to email me at patfish1@aol.com if you want to send me a special comment or have any ideas or information you want to share.

NEXT : Got some interviews of current Republican candidates coming up.

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