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July 11, 1997     Cape Gazette
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July 11, 1997
 

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10 - CAPE GAZETTE, Friday, July 11 - July 17, 1997 July Fourth: Jam packed with places to go and people went Every indication points to the fact we are recuperating from a blockbuster, record-breaking Fourth of July Weekend for the Cape Region. Rehoboth Police report record holiday weekend TheRehoboth Beach Police De- partment experienced a record breaking July Fourth holiday, sur- passing totals in many activity categories over a three-day period. "Two of the 22-year officers told me that they have never seen larger crowds than we had Satur- day and Sunday night. Overall, the worst traffic c6ngestion was Saturday night, while we had the most people Sunday," Rehoboth Police Chief Creig Doyle reported at a debriefing session Monday, July 7. Between 7 a.m., Friday, July 4 through 7 a.m., Monday, July 7, Rehoboth police arrested a total of 110 people - 84 on traffic viola- tions, including five for DUI, and 26 on criminal violations, includ- ing four persons on drug charges. Three of those drug arrests were for possession of cocaine and marijuana in connection with the LOVE '97 benefit held at Con- vention Center on Saturday, July 5, according to Chief Creig Doyle. A record number of complaints and requests for police service - 190 - were received by the Re- hoboth Beach 911 Communica- tions Center and were handled by full-time and summer police offi- cers. Dispatchers also received nearly 500 non-emergency calls. The peak time period for police occurred ori Saturday between 3 and 11 p.m., when officers re- sponded to 30 emergency calls, the most ever for one eight-hour sift, according to veteran police supervisors. Late'Saturday after- noon the city experienced proba- bly its worst case of traffic con- gestion and gridlock in recent memory, said Doyle, as due to the rush of beach goers leaving town and a huge volume of traffic head- ed in both directions on Route 1 from Dewey Beach to Five Points, most downtown city streets were bumper-to-bumper from 4 to 7 p.m. "The overwhelm!ng majority of visitors were well behaved and appeared very patient, despite long lines of traffic," Doyle noted. "I am very proud of each and every one of my employees, many of whom worked long days and extra hours. We survived as usual while doing a very professional job, despite big crowds and hot temperatures," he continued. No serious incidents or assaults were reported in" the city all week- end, although, according to Re- hoboth Volunteer Fire Company Chief Chuck Snyder, someone threw a lit cherry bomb into the men's room at the Grotto Pizza on Rehoboth Avenue Saturday evening, July 4, which caused dis- ruptionin the first blocks of Re- hoboth Avenue. The State Fire Marshal is investigating the inci- dent. Rehoboth reportshike in meter revenues Rehoboth City Manager Greg Ferrese said' revenue brought in over the 1997 July Fourth Week- end far exceeded last year's take. Last year the city collected $69,209, while this year, $83,100 came into city coffers. "It was a fantastic weekend, with great weather and huge crowds. I also understand that downtown merchants did record business," Ferrese said. According to Rehoboth Waste- water Treatment Plant manager Bob Stenger, however, sewer flow per millions of gallons didn't in- crease significantly from last July Fourth weekend. Flows were 2.77 on July 4; 2.786 on July 5; 2.767 on July 6; and 2.093 on July 7, for a daily average of 2.558. This av- erage is very close to the July, 1996 average Of 2.54. Merchants report "best season ever" "Several conversations I've had with area businesses tell me that it .doesn't get much better than this," said Carol Everhart, executive di- rector of the Rehoboth Beach'- Dewey Beach Chamber of C6m- mcgee. While 99 percent report a "won- derful" weekend, a few said it could be better, she said. "We "knew we were going to have a good season when we had an increase of 38 percent in re- quests for information about the area," Everhart noted, attributing that partly to new avenues of ad- vertising. "But the biggest re- sponse wegot on why people wanted information was 'word of mouth'. And we shared informa- tion on top potential visitors with the Bethany-Fenwick Chamber and the Sussex Convention and Tourism Commission," she said. Everhart believes if theweather cooperates, the Cape Region can expect a possible record breaker in revenue. Lewes Chamber reports busy holiday weekend Lewes Chamber of Commerce Visitors: Bureau Director Louise Huebler said the streets of Lewes were full, businesses were full, motels and bed and breakfasts were full and the canal was full for the Fourth of July weekend. "Bet- sy [chamber director Betsy Ream- er] surveyed a number of busi- nesses and they all said it was a great weekend," said Huebler. "We had a hard time finding places for people to stay. Gavin Braithwaite, who with his wife, Lou, own and operate Puzzles on Second Street, and Stepping Stone and Union Jack on Market Street, said that Saturday, July 5 was the "busiest day since we opened our businesses in 1992. I think it was a combination of good weather, the St. Peters Art Show, the holi- day weekend - a lot of everything. It really was great." Dottie Pur- cell at Lloyd's IGA said the week- end was "super." Hey son, Dar- ren, said the store's biggest day was Thursday, July 3. "I guegs that's when everyone was getting ready." Holt reports large crowds, water usage Gilbert Holt, who ,helped orga- nize the Second Street July Fourth games, said a crowd of about 350 gathered for tile time-honored cel- ebration. "Everyone seemed to have a good time and I think it was our biggest crowd ever," said Holt. "I think next year we'll have to add a race for in-line skaters. That seems to be "more and more in demand." Holt, Who works for the Lewes Board of Public Works water department, said usage showed a big weekend. "This year on July Fourth we pumped 1,604,800 gallons com- pared to 1,299,000 on the Fourth last year. Lewes meter revenues also show strength Peg Stewart at Lewes City Hall said mdter" revenues collected for this year's three day July Fourth holiday totaled $6,130.17. That's up from last year when the holi- day spanned four days - with the Fourth on a Thursday - and meter revenues totaled $6,084.25. 'q'he town was totally full," said City Manager Elaine Bisbee. "The parking lots at the public beaches were totally full." Lewes police respond to record complaints Lewes Police Department's Of- ficer-In-Charge Lt. Ronald "Beau" Gooch said the Fourth of July weekend'was a record break- erin terms of complaints. "We answered 60 complaints though none was serious," said Gooch. "From Friday to Monday people called in complaining about everything from fireworks and shoplifting, two accidents in front of Beebe Medical Center, to dogs barking. But everyone was most- ly orderly and while there were crowds on July Fourth on Second Street and in the area around the canal: other parts of town seemed like a ghost town. I guess it was just the way the people were con- centrated." Dewey reports crowds, healthy revenue Dewey Beach Town Manager Bill Rutherford said amount of revenue from parking meter sales over the holiday weekend was about the same as last year. Rutherford said he thought the number of people in town was higher than that of past holidays, Angle Moon photos A Family Fourth Pastor Donald Paper Jr. of the Dagsboro Church of God was thrilled with the estimat- ed 20,000 people who turned out for the church's second July.4th Family Day Celebra- tion. His wife, Gina, directed the musical and dramatical events staged Friday which celebrated "our God-given freedoms and a feeling of. community," Raper said. They honored the many ser- vice veterans in the crowd as well and provided games and events for children. "I have to thank all of the people in the church, businesses and the community for helping with their energy and financ- ing to make the day such a success," he said of the" $68,000 and many hours of manpower it took to hold the event. "The turnout really shows how many people are searching for a celebration where no smoking, drinking or swearing is allowed," he added. At left, Donald Syvert- son, associate pastor, minis- ters to church members Cheryl and Gene Mion, the latter a retired naval officer. I probably because of the good weather. "We had a good weekend weather-wise," he said. "Crowds were packed in here. I thought there were more people here this weekend. The crowds were under control." More people generally means more traffic. Rutherford said al- though traffic was at a standstill during some time, the gridlock caused nc major problems. "The emergency vehicles seemed to move through the town without difficulty," he said. Mayor Bob Frederick con- curled with Rutherford, and said he thought the Fourth of July weekend was a successful holiday overall for the town. "In general, it wag an orderly type of crowd," be said. "It was a combination of'the holiday and the good weather." Like other Dewey Beach venues, the Rusty Rudder deck Continued on page 14