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Lewes, Delaware
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June 19, 1998     Cape Gazette
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June 19, 1998
 

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Dewey Continued from page 1 rain its pedestrian traffic and en- sure safety for those on foot and those behind the wheel, fearing just the scenario that would occur later that night. When asked if he could pinpoint a "pedestrian rush hour" in town, Morrison said the late night hours, between 10 p.m. and 4 a.m., are the worst. "It's the most crowded when the establishments let out," he said. "From the Rusty Rudder all the way up the bend by Theo's is nothing but a wall of people." Now in his seventh season as police chief, Morrison said town's the most crowded he's ever seen and alcohol abuse appears to be on the rise. He said he and his de- partment have instituted an ag- gressive ticketing campaign to stop jaywalking on Route 1. He said only time will tell if the tick- ets, which include a hefty $55 fine, will be effective deterrents. Also, Morrison said because it is almost the height of the summer season he doesn't want to ignore other areas of town in efforts to focus on the highway. "I don't want to give up our res- idential coverage to cover Route 1, while I don't want to ignore Route 1, either," he said. "It's a 'Catch 22.' " Morrison stressed that jaywalk- ers should be on guard, because he and his department aren't writing any more warnings, just tickets. "We're going to donate as many officers to the cause as we can," he said. Still, many fear this is only the ominous beginning of a very long summer season. Dewey saw three serious pedestrian accidents in five days late last July. One immediate solution town officials are seeking is limiting the hours of operation for noncon- forming restaurants, which in- cludes the Waterfront Restaurant, Coconuts Seafood House, the Rusty Rudder, the BayCenter, the Lighthouse and the Starboard. In order to be classified as "con- forming," an establishment must meet certain requirements per the town code. In addition to regulat- ing the hours and operation of the establishment, most of those re- quirements in the code specify a required percentage of dining area vs. bar area. The code defines "restaurant" as a "commercial es- tablishment whose primary activi- ty is the service of complete meals from a representative menu." Dewey Beach Mayor Bob Fred- erick said he and the current ad- ministration have strived to strike a balance between the wilder days of Dewey and a family-friendly Dewey. The current administration is at a faceoff," he said. "In the past few years, Dewey' become a dra- matically balanced town except for one issue - the late night crowds where there are 6- to 10- thousand intoxicated people walk- ing the streets. "I don't have an immediate, le- gal solution," said Frederick. "My job is to heighten awareness and seek solutions." He said the town will first seek the voluntary cooperation from the nonconforming establishments to reduce their hours of operation and volume, before imposing leg- islation to regulate them. Chip Hearn, owner of the Star- board, said he questions the need for the town's latest request and said the intent of the proposal seems to be politically motivated. "Are we really trying to start an election campaign in June?" he said. "Is that good for the town? If they want me to do something proactive, then they can talk to me. I'll be glad to do something, just tell me." Enacted in 1992, H.B. 408 grants restaurants the power to be- come bars after a certain time each night. The legislation states that any "cabaret" establishment [ones that discontinue the service of complete meals and exclude un- derage patrons after 9 p.m.] creat- ed prior to that time be allowed to operate without the town's juris- diction. About five years ago, Joanne DeFiore and a handful of Dewey Beach-area residents began press- ing state officials for a traffic light at Elizabeth Street on Route 1, and expressed a great concern about the safety of the mile-long stretch of road between Rehoboth and Dewey beaches. It was DeFiore who named that length of Route 1 "The Forgotten Mile." In an e-mail sent to The Cape Gazette, DeFiore said she is ex- tremely upset about the accident and she and other residents are still awaiting a traffic study on the intersection from the Delaware Lifeguard Continued from page 1 Marlborough, Md., was operating a 1997 Mitsubishi Eclipse in the southbound, left lane of Route 1 and struck the Jeep as it began the turn. "The Jeep turned from the crossover in front of the Eclipse," said Newton. "The Jeep then rotated. After impact, the Jeep spun and the rear end struck Sheperd, who was walking on the shoulder." "Alcohol is possibly a factor in the collision," said Cpl. Barry Dean, commander of the Sussex County Fatal Accident Investiga- tion and Reconstruction (FAIR) team, located at Troop 7. "Tests have been taken, but results are not back." Both of the drivers were wearing seat belts; neither was injured. Newton said the FAIR team is continuing its investigation. Dean was not at liberty to indicate who was tested for blood alcohol lev- els. Any charges that may be filed are contingent on the results of the investigation. Department of Transportation (DelDOT). Moved to respond to the most recent accident at the in- tersection, DiFiore has sent letters to Sen. George Bunting, D- Bethany Beach, and DelDOT liai- son Melissa Welch, urging them to take action. In her letter sent to Bunting, De- Fiore wrote, "To say we are frus- trated, Senator Bunting, is an un- derstatement. To say we are an- gry...you bet your sweet traffic signal we are! How many 'sacri- ficial lambs' have to be offered before DelDOT sits up and takes notice?" Bunting, who, along with Rep. John Schroeder, D-Lewes, has been active in the Forgotten Mile issue, said placing a traffic light at that intersection may not be the solution. CAPE GAZETTE, Fridlay,:June 19 - June 25, 1998. 17 "In the Forgotten Mile area, speed is an issue," he said. "Peo- ple speed up. They've just come off the bridge and they're in a hur- ry to get to the beach." The addition of a traffic light would also require closing the road, said Bunting, who added that he has encouraged the residents of the Forgotten Mile area to ap- proach both Dewey and Rehoboth about police coverage, since the state police cannot provide a com- plement of officers to maintain that road. He said DelDOT has prepared a traffic study of the area and it is in the design phase. NEW KITCHENS Quality Design & Installation For Kitchens & Baths :, '! 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