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January 17, 1997     Cape Gazette
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January 17, 1997

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to ways to Delaware's Cape Region Friday, Jan. 17 - Thursday, Jan. 23, 1997 Volume 4, No. 35 Cape School Board looks to convert seats to at-large By Kerry Kester The Cape Henl0pen School District Board Of Education may consider the option of changing the school board election zones from specific areas to all at-large seats. The board's decision to explore re-draw- ing lines or changing the system to all at- large seats is in response to Rehoboth Ele- mentary School parent concern that the Area D seat geographical boundaries are too Rehoboth eyeing offer from state to remove shipwreck from beach By Dennis Forney Rehoboth Beach Mayor Sam Cooper said this week that he and the city's commission- ers want to hear more about a proposal to remove the remains of two ships from 300 feet of beach at the foot of Brooklyn Avenue. John Hughes, director of the state's Divi- sion of Soil and Water Conservation, which looks out for Delaware's beaches, said his division has offered to take a serious look at removing the remains. Involved are the wooden ribs of the barge Merrimac which went ashore in 1918, and the metal remains of the ill-fated coal carrier Thomas Tracy. The Tracy, enroute from Philadelphia to New York, was driven ashore by a hurri- cane on Sept. 14, 1944. "We could give back to Rehoboth an entire block of beach by cleaning up the Continued on page 11 restrictive. According to Clare McDonald, president of the Rehoboth Beach Parent Teacher Association (PTA), the boundaries are so restrictive that they do not allow the majori- ty of parents whose children attend the school to run for a school board seat and represent the area. At the December board meeting, McDon- ald said 92 percent of the families whose children attend the Rehoboth Beach schools do not live within the Area D boundaries. Her statistics indicate that the candidate pool includes only 160 people. That low number poses the danger that because the pool is so small, it is conceiv- able that no one would come forward to run, she said. "A lot has changed since these boundaries were decided," said McDonald. Another PTA board member, Camilla Conlon, said it was her understanding that most districts in the state have all at-large seats. "The board may want to look at hav- ing seven members at-large," she said, not- ing that the attendance areas are not in sync with the voting districts. Board member Barry Porter staunchly supported a change. "I think we ought to pursue it," he said. "I think it's our job to Continued on page 10 This photograph, taken in mid September, 1944, shows the empty coal carrier THOMAS TRACY high and dry on the beach at the end of Brooklyn Avenue in Rehoboth Beach. Cape Gazette photographer Angie Moon hand-colored the black and white photograph to add a contemporary feel to the event. The Center for the Inland Bays hopes to lease a 150 acre.piece of land from Sussex County. Here, Dr. Kent Price, the chairman, and Dr. Bruce Richards, executive director, are shown at the proposed lease site. By Michael Short The Center for the Inland Bays may have found a home. The Center will begin negotiations with the county for the use of a 150 acre tract of land off Cedar NeckRoad near Bethany Beach. The Center does not want to pur- chase the property and it will remain in county hands,but the group is asking to be able to use the property. Mary Lighthipe donated the land to Sus- sex County in 1992, but with severe restric- tions. The land, a mix of marshland, open pasture and deep woods with two sandy stretches of beach, is not to be developed for commercial or residential uses. Lighthipe said the land must be used for environmental or agricultural studies, for parks and recreation or to protect wild habi- tat. That creates a win-win situation, accord- ing to Dr. Bruce Richards, executive direc- tor of the Center. "It is beautiful," said Dr. Kent Price, the chairman of the Center Board of Directors. Price and Richards told Sussex County on Jan. 14 that the land, best known as the James Farm, could be used for hiking, bird- watching, canoeing, educational programs for school children, demonstration projects for agriculture, habitat restoration and nature trails. The Center for the Inland Bays, despite its name, is not a location. It is a group charged with safeguarding the inland bays. The Board of Directors for the Center for the Inland Bays, which includes County Administator Bob Stickels and Secretary of Agriculture Jack Tarburton, oversees the implementation of a comprehensive man- agement or CCMP plan for Delaware's inland bays. But the Center has no home and Price and Richards said having a facility would be a major boost for the Center. Richards compared a possible facility to the Delaware Nature Society's Ashland Center in Heckessin. Tuesday's agreement means that the Board of Directors for the Center for the Inland Bays can begin negoti- ating a lease with Sussex County. The Board of Directors will consider the issue when it next meets on Jan. 24. But the site seems a natural for a facility to locate and no one on County Council objected to the idea. "I like the whole thing," said Continued on page 13 The Center for Inland Bays may have found a home