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January 30, 1998     Cape Gazette
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January 30, 1998

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CAPE GAZE'FrE, Friday, January 30 - February 5, 1998. 17 Coops owner flies a renovation plan by Milton officials By Rosanne Pack It's been years in coming, but the Town of Milton now expects to see a solution to what has been regarded by most residents as a festering sore of a housing prob- lem. The infamous Coops, 116 Collins St., may be facing a face lift and a massive renovation from the inside out. According to Kathy Thumel, Milton building code enforcement officer, the owner of the property informed her that she is planning a total renovation and remodeling that will bring the rental units into compliance with housing codes and improve the appearance of the entire parcel. After a December 11 inspection of several of the rental units at 116 Collins St., owner Inell Alexander was informed of numerous town, county and fire marshal's office building code violations. She was given notice that violations would have to be corrected, some imme- diately, or face a condemnation of the 15-unit apartment complex. "I am so pleased that the owner has taken this approach," Thumel said. "I think this is very positive. Mrs. Alexander came and talked with me and told me of her plans for a total renovation. She plans to give her tenants notice soon, and at that point, they will have 30 days to vacate the property." Alexander chose not to com- ment, but, according to Thumel, the property owner has already contacted contractors and is en- listing the help of First State Com- munity Action Agency to apply for a low-interest housing im- provement loan. Aleathea Scott, of First State, accompanied Alexander to Milton Town Hall to discuss the plans with Thumel. "From what she told me, she plans to keep the exterior walls, but she will remove some of the interior walls to enlarge some of the apartments. She is probably going to reduce the number of apartments by almost half," Thumel said. The plans that Alexander dis- cussed wight-the-bUilding code in- spector include>exterior work, possibly siding; restructuring the interiors; replacing bathroom and kitchen fixtures; painting and gen- eral repair; and cleaning and land- scaping the grounds. Thumel said she expects neigh- boring residents to be very pleased with the changes at the apartment site. "Now, we have to establish deadlines and make sure that we stick to them," Thumel said. "Mrs. Alexander has been given until the end of this week to give notice to her tenants, and they will have 30 days from the notice to move ouL We are going to stay on this so it does not get drawn out any longer. "But, we are not going to dis- place anyone. The owner is coor- dinating things with First State of- ficials and they will do what they can to assist those who have diffi- cult 3 , finding housing." Rich Moonblatt, owner of a neighboring property said he is pleased that progress is being made to rectify what was regarded as a nuisance property for years. Moonblatt said, "We are pleased to see that Mrs. Alexander sees the value in enhancing the condition of her property, and in providing a safer, better place for people to live. "However, we will be watching very closely to make sure that the property is in compliance with the code, so we don't revisit 1987. We do look forward to the proper- ty being esthetically pleasing to all in the area." During the summer of 1997, Moonblatt initiated a petition that focused attention on the Coops. The petition listed allegations and observations, including prob- ability of illegal drug use, exces- sive noise and rowdiness, loitering and numerous health and cleanli- ness issues. More than 75 Milton residents signed the petition that was presented to town council. When Thumel investigated records of the property, she found that it had been cited for many of the present violations as long ago as 1987, but there was no follow- up and no sign that corrections were made at that time. Thumel pointed out that if Alexander follows through on her plans to knock out walls and change the interiors of the apart- ments, they will have to meet ex- isting code, rather than the one that applied at the time of con- struction. 'q'he bottom line is that we are very pleased with the cooperation that Mrs. Alexander has exhibited since our inspection, and with the decision to renovate the property." COASTAL TOWING & REPAIR would like to invite all of Rehoboth Shell's former customers to experience our services. We are a full service repair facility with over 25 years experience and ASE certified mechanics. We're here to assist any and all of your automotive needs/ Complete Major & Minor Repairs All Foreign & Domestic Autos & Trucks Emissions Testing , Brakes & Exhaust Systems Computerized Wheel Balanckg Air Condition Service 945-5400 or 645-6300 County Rd. 283 LEWES (behind the Plantations) SCI guards Continued from page 14 he suspended the sentences for one year at Level II (supervised probation) for each charge. The state dropped the other charges. Former Sgt. Michael Truitt, 38, pleaded guilty to offensive touch- ing. Graves sentenced him to 30 days in Level V custody, but he suspended the sentence to one year at Level II probation As part of the agreement, wording in Tru- itt's grand jury indictment was changed to read' that Truitt's part of the offensive touching charge was touching Blankenship with a banana, rather than a stick. All of the guards are also sub- ject to fines and court fees. Mur- phy and Burton may have agreed to the plea, because Truitt decided late last week to work with prose- cutors. According to Rosemary Beauregard, Truitt's attorney, her client "cooperated with the state" by "agreeing to testify truthfully." The indictment states that the incident occurred between Oct. 20, 1996, and Nov. 20, 1996. Blankenship accused the guards of handcuffing him to the base of an air-conditioning duct, pulling his pants down, striking him in the groin with a stick and attempting to wedge a banana in his mouth. He also claimed they took pictures of him and passed the photos throughout the prison. Beauregard said Truitt's lighter sentence was because "his culpa- bility was much less than the oth- ers involved. Much of what oe- curred was prior to Mr. Truitt en- tering the room." Beauregard, however, noted that she believes no one "beat" Blankenship, as the prisoner al- leged. "I don't think Mr. Blankenship was beaten or struck in any way," said Beauregard. Deputy Attorney General James Adkins said he was pleased with the plea arrangement. "I think it was a just result," he said. "It's had a major impact on their [the former guards'] lives." They lost their jobs and they are prevented from gaining that type of employ- ment in the future, he said. The sentences exceeded the sentencing guidelines, said Ad- kins. "Because of the seriousness of these offenses, we wanted at least supervised probation," he said. Department of Correction Chief of Media Relations Anthony Fari- na said Blankenship is serving a life sentence for the 1981 first-de- gree rape and first-degree bur- glary convictions resulting from crimes he committed in Kent County Beauregard said she is continuing to represent Truitt, be- cause he is appealing some of the employment issues. Truitt worked for the Department of Correction for 14 years prior to being terminated, effective Aug. 14, 1997. Burton worked for the department 16 years, and Murphy worked for the department for 17 years. Both of their terminations were effective Aug. 1, 1997 At press time, Blankenship had not filed a civil suit against the former guards, I took my bedspread to the cleaners, and now the draperies look so dingy in comparison! What's the best way to deal with them needing to be cleaned? Ron Oronzio We can dry-clean your draperies without removing them from your home! Our methods are guaranteed not to shrink, fade or damage your fabrics without the inconve- nience of their absence. We can dry-clean other fabric treatments and surfaces as well, includ- ing shades and blinds, oriental rugs and furni- ture. Tur00ing Your #ee, or, tinO &.m Ipto Re, lily Visit Our Showroom at 1521 Savannah Rd., Lewes or ca. 644"0800 to ,che00ule . no-cost/no obligation In-Home Consultation. Hunter Douglas Priority Dealer On-Site Drapery Cleaning