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Lewes, Delaware
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July 11, 1997     Cape Gazette
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July 11, 1997

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Fourth of July weekend a sizzler, inside Delaware's Cape Region Friday, July 11 - Thursday, July 17, 1997 Volume 5, No. 7. Rehoboth f'treworks snafu investigation on Angle Moon photo Patience is a virtue and it was rewarded at approximately 11 p.m. Sunday evening for those who remained in Rehoboth Beach to watch the offshore fireworks display that almost wasn't. The events surrounding the delay are under investigation by the Coast Guard. Hghtning sparks fire that levels century old Virden house By Dennis Forney If people in Lewes begin notic- Angle Moon photo Large old trees arch the burning remains of the long-vacant Virden house on Kings Highway in Lewes. smoke - and they'd hear doors opening and closing. We're kind of concerned about what he's " going to do now that the house is gone." And the house is definitely gone. At 2 a.m. Thursday morning, when the dried old wood of the house continually rekindled despite the efforts of Lewes Vol- unteer Fire Department, Chief Wally Evans asked Mrs. Virden what she thought. "The way it was burning, there was nothing there to save," said Virden. "They gave us the choice of putting out the fire or letting it Continued on page 13 ing mysterious smells of coffee or cigars, or the unexplained noise of doors opening and closing, a thun- derous crack of lightning that woke half the town early Thursday morning, July 10 may be involved. Fire officials and observers believe a bolt of lightning, about a half hour past midnight, sparked a fire that took down an almost vacant house more than 100 years old on Kings Highway. No humans lived in the house but according to owner Ruth Virden, the family's concerned about Old Russ. "He's the ghost that was always around the place. Family mem- bers called him Old Russ. When they worked around the yard or the empty house, they would often smell coffee brewing or cigar Coast Guard causes delay; all agree everything else ran very smoothly By Trish Vernon The faces of Rehoboth Beach and Main Street officials were still drained and even appeared shell- shocked July 7 following the pre- vious night's fireworks display off the beach. They were reeling from an almost fiasco which was averted at the eleventh hour through their- persistence at persuading the Coast Guard to allow the show to go on. The evening of July 6 bore all of the harbingers of a holiday extrav- aganza which would be difficult to rival - flawless weather, a smooth- ly operating transportation and traffic management system, happy merchants - anticipation from a boisterous but orderly crowd of 80,000 to 100,000 swelled the air. As the 9:30 p.m. detonation time approached, every inch of beach and boardwalk were blan- keted and caramel corn and pizza slices were at a premium. Ryan Cape hires Selby as Rehoboth principal By Kerry Kester she had a new baby and the district Esthelda "Stell" Selby, absent from the Cape Henlopen School District for the last year as she worked as a principal in the Capi- tal School District, is returning to the folds of home. The school board hired Selby, during a special meeting Wednesday, July 3, as the principal at Rehoboth Elementary School. "That's my favorite school," said Selby. "I started my career there. I started as a playground aide back in 1968 when it was in the Rehoboth School System." That was a year of change for her, she said. She was Working on her bache- lor of arts degree in sociology through night school and in the summers, she was a newlywed, Thoma of Sussex YMCA fame won the Softubs hot tub and Hol- land Jeweler diamond ring in the fireworks fundraising raffle it was announced from the Bandstand after Hot Cakes played its last note and then the evening began to unravel. Everyone watched in confusion, as the tug towing the fireworks barge started slowly heading north to Cape Henlopen, on orders from the Coast Guard, just minutes be- fore the first blast was to go off. As the word went out over the ma- rine radios from the boats clus- tered around the tug, the officials at Rehoboth Beach command post received the canellation notice at 9:28 p.m. and began scrambling. Rehoboth Fire Chief Chuck Snyder was able to persuade Coast Guard officials in Philadelphia that the show must go on by 10:15 p.m., but by then the. barge was already well toward Lewes and the Continued on page 12 was in the process of consolida- tion. "It feels wonderful to go back where it all began," said Selby, 50. "The opportu- nity knocks again. "I'm very pleased that people at SELBY home want me back home." Before taking the principal's position at West Ele- mentary School in Dover last year, Selby served as Rehoboth Ele- mentary School's assistant princi- pal. Continued on page 11