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June 7, 1996     Cape Gazette
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June 7, 1996
 

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12 - CAPE GAZETTE, Friday, June 7 - June 13, 1996 Guinea Creek marina plan stirs strong feelings on both sides By Michael Short Environmental quality took center stage at a controversial hearing last week for a marina proposed for Guinea Creek. Both the developers and the op- ponents claimed to be on the side of the environment during a pub- lic hearing on the proposed mari- na near the headwaters of Guinea Creek. The 24-slip marina would be built by George "Dick" Harrison for the development Creek's End, formerly Seafarer's Village East. No decision was made at the May 30 hearing and Department of Natural Resources and Environ- mental Control Hearing Officer Rod Thompson is expected to lake at least afew weeks to make a de- cision. The hearing revolved around environmental quality. The devel- oper said he plans to create wet- lands and plant marsh grasses which will actually enhance the environment. Critics said the creek's shallow headwaters just are not deep enough to support a marina. "This particular stretch of shoreline is almost the last bit of undisturbed nursery area on Guinea Creek and as such, is extremely important as well as extremely delicate," said Henry Glowiak, president of Save Wetlands and Bays Inc. Guinea Creek is a tributary of Rehoboth Bay. More specifically, it is a tributary of Herring Creek which dead ends near Road 298. The developers said the mean low water (low tide) level is two feet at the site of the marina. Critics disputed that and wor- ried that the area is not suited for a marina project. But the developer called Dr. Evelyn Maurmeyer to speak about the merits of the ma- rina. Maurmeyer, the president of the Lewes firm Coastal and Estu- arine Reseach, said that the mari- na owners do not plan to do any dredging at the site and that the marina would not cause any shell- fish bed closures. She said that a rock sill would be placed behind the marina and that marsh plants would be plant- ed behind the sill, in effect creat- ing an artificial wetland area. The rock or rip-rap sill is con- sidered a more environmentally sound way of protecting property than using bulkheading because the rock provides habitat for fish and other animals. There are also no plans for fish cleaning or gaso- line sales. The plants would be flooded by the fide and would create 14,000 square feet of wetlands, according to Maurmeyer. "It would be envi- ronmentally sensitive and sound," Maurmeyer said. She said the project would be esthetically pleasing and would restore marsh areas and added that the open water area of the marina location would increase tidal flushing. But critics took exception to the argument that the site would not hurt the inland bays, especially to the characterization that there was enough water to site a marina without dredging. "At low tide, it is next to impossible to get out of the creek," said George Merrick. Attorney Robert Witsil repre- sented several neighbors. He ham- mered away at the developer's testimony, challenging assertions about the width of the creek and water depth. The map above shows the location of the proposed marina on Harrison said he has not thought about whether he would like to eventually expand the 24-slip ma- rina. But he said he felt good about trying to build an environ- mentally sound project. "It seems like I am going through a lot of hoops tO lessen the impact...I live in Guinea Creek. I plan on staying there. I am committed to protecting the environment." But most of the people at the hearing opposed the project. Mer- rick said he has had the area noted as a striped bass spawning area. Glowiak said, "the marina regula- tions specifically mention the ad- visability of constructing marinas only in or near the mouths of creeks and rivers where there is the possibility, at least, of some increase in flushing capability. This marina is very far upstream, indeed, nearly at the very headwa- ters of Guinea Creek and is ex- tremely poorly flushed. The west- ern winds [most of our summer winds are southeast] can leave the creek bottom nearly dry for days at a time, especially at times of low tide." The project drew concern from residents, the Delaware Audubon Society and the Inland Bays Estu- ary Program Citizen Advisory Committee. Local resident Tim Buckmaster, who plans to live in Creeks End, supported the project. Buckmaster said he only want to be able to go boating like most of the project's critics. "I want nothing more than what you already have." But he was outnumbered by critics. Merrick said that if "you build a boat ramp, there's no wa- ter there to launch a boat." Guinea Creel Til Purnell, speaking on behalf of the Friends of Herring Creek, said "the two major problems have been defined as loss of water quality and habitat destruction, both of which will be augmented by the construction of this mari- na." She called for the developers to only build a boat ramp and not a planned marina. "This way, the residents will have access to the creek but will damage the re- source, so valuable to all of us, far less," Purnell said. A letter from the Delaware Audubon Society read by Larry Wonderlin said "major tributaries such as Guinea Creek provide sig- nificant habitat and sanctuary for wildlife and marine life. It is vital that the quality of these waters re- main immutable-safe and healthy." Del Tech installs Orlando George as its fourth president By Dennis Forney Amidst full pomp and circum- stance, music by Dvorak, Pachel- bel, and Copeland, teachers and professors garbed in colorful aca- demic gowns and caps, and flanked by Gov. Tom Carper and Trustees Chairman Richard Stokes, Dr. Orlando J. George ac- cepted installation as the fourth president of Delaware Technical and Community College last Fri- day, May 31 at the Owens Cam- pus in Georgetown. A full house of state and com- munity leaders, family and friends, and Del Tech staff and faculty from the college's three campuses stood and applauded as Stokes put the official medallion of office around George's neck, making his designation official. Though he has been serving in the position for a year now, the Friday ceremony provided an op- portunity for the educational com- munity to come together to honor the multi-talented George and the institution he now leads. "Ceremonies are important to communities," Dr. James R. Soles, Alumni Distinguished Pro- fessor at University of Delaware, told the gathered crowd. "They are important to reaffirm and rec- ognize the community's values. In this case the values we are rec- ognizing are education and leader- ship. Dr. George embodies both." Del Tech is an institution that serves more than 35,000 students at its New Castle, Kent and Sus- sex county campuses each year. Dr. George brings many leader- ship and education accomplish- merits to his position. An alumnus of University of Delaware, Dr. George received a bachelor's de- gree in mathematics, a master's degree in education, and a doctor- ate in education. He began his ser- vice at the college in 1969 as a mathematics instructor, later chaired the mathematics depart- ment, served as assistant to the campus director at the Stanton Campus, dean of instruction, as- sistant campus director, and vice president and campus director. 20 years a legislator He also served on the Wilming- ton City Council from 1972 to 1974 and in Delaware's House of Representatives from 1974 to 1995. During his tenure in the House, he held various leadership positions including Speaker of the House, chairman of the Joint Fi- nance Committee, and Minority Leader. In his comments, Gov. Carper praised George's accomplish- merits as a legislator. "I've known Lonnie George since I was trea- surer-elect for the state of Delaware at the tender age of 29," said Carper. "The state's credit rating was one of the worst in the country. Twenty years later when Lonnie left the legislature, the state's credit rating turned around to become one of the best in the country. Delaware's finances have a national reputation for their soundness. And though many contributed to that turnaround, Lonnie George can lay a greater claim to the many reforms that have helped this state's finances than any other single legislator. Now Lonnie's working for Del Tech and Delaware's never need- ed Del Tech more than now. I've learned that the state that will do the best - provide the best quality Dr. Orlando George, president of Del Tech, acknowledges the applause of the crowd at his inauguration ceremony last Friday at the Owens Campus in Georgetown. Sharing the stage with him were (l-r) University of Delaware Alumni Dis- tinguished Professor Dr. James Soles, Gov. Tom Carper, and Del Tech Trustees Chairman Richard Stokes. of life and the best standard of liv- ing - is the state that educates the best. That's what I think Lonnie George will help us accomplish with Del Tech." Carper waxed poetic "When I was driving down to- day [to Georgetown] I had never seen our state lovelier. The winter wheat and barley are as green as this Governor's ever seen. The first of 100,000 people were be- ginning to arrive at Dover Downs [for the Miller 500] and with a forecast for such a great weekend, I could feel the anticipation of people wanting to get to the beach. One week ago, one of the Continued on page 13