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Lewes, Delaware
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July 14, 2000     Cape Gazette
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July 14, 2000

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50 1 Delaware's Cape Region Friday, July 14 - Thursday, July 20, 2000 Volume 8 No. 8 ] Fish kills shine spotlight on the inland bays What has been done to protect fragile waters? By Michael Short Editor's Note: This is thefirst in a series about efforts to clean up the fragile inland bays, environmental woes that still remain and potential solutions to those difficult problems. The piece of equipment in the foreground here, with a battering ram head at the end of its boom, will move into action starting Monday to begin the long-awaited demoli- In less than a week, there have been two menhaden fish kills in the inland bays. Some of the fish had lesions, making Pfeis- teria a suspect in the fish kills. While Pfeisteria has almost certainly been ruled out in those cases, the environ- mental woes of the inland bays continue. Although not the culprit this time, Pfeiste- ria has been found in the bays. So has brown tide. Massive amounts of nutrients, low levels of dissolved oxygen and blooms of sea let- tuce that rot and decompose on shorelines have dominated headlines. It's been a dismal environmental year for Delaware's inland bays, an area many con- sider the treasure of Sussex County. The problems are not new. .In fact, people have worried about the inland bays for decades and they are likely to worry for decades to come. And the news is not all bad. Ospreys are Dennis Fomey photo tion of the fabled DeBraak building shown in the back- ground on Lewes Beach. The demolition will make way for seven residential lots. on the increase. Striped bass are more abundant than they have been in many years. Eelgrass, a beneficial grass that grows abundantly in Chincoteague Bay, has been planted and has grown near Indian River in recent years. Considered an indicator of clean water, the eelgrass has grown and reproduced. That's the good news. The bad news is that eelgrass was smothered out one year by a Continued on page 16 DeBraak building to fall Monday Demolition to make way for seven residential lots By Dennis Forney The most controversial building in recent Lewes history will itself become history starting next week. Rush Ellis confirmed this week that the long-awaited demolition of the DeBraak building on Lewes Beach will begin Mon- day, July 17. The job, said Ellis, should be complete within two weeks. An eight-foot fence, required by Lewes Building Official Bill Massey, is going up this week to provide security around the demolition site. Also brought on site this week was a heavy piece of equipment which will knock the building apart piece Continued on page 18 Ferries flunkfederal tests;:Twin Capes improves DRBA 'has a long way to go' to meet standards By Jim Cresson Federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA) inspectors were back on board Cape May-Lewes ferries, Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, July 10-12, and found some signs of improvement in the vessels' food service operations, but said the Delaware River and Bay Authority (DRBA) "still has a long way to go" before they come up to federal standards. The surprise inspections came midway through a 30-day probation period imposed on the ferry service by the FDA June 28. The vessels are operating their onboard food services on a provisional status during the 30-day period which ends July 28. Initial inspections of the MV Twin Capes and MV Cape May June 12 and June 14 revealed numerous violations of FDA food code standards and resulted in a warning letter to the DRBA that if those deficiencies cannot be improved within the 30-day deadline, the food service operations will remain closed until they meet standards. The FDA could get a federal court order to shut down the operations c6mpletely. As outlined in the June 28 warning letter to DRBA, the initial violations included potentially hazardous food that is not pre- pared, stored, displayed or serviced at required temperatures. The letter specifi- cally Cited the service for having uncooked sausage patties that were 63-degrees, which is 22 degrees above federal safe standards. It faulted the food service for inadequate refrigeration and heating units. It also found fault with food service employees and cited instances where food handlers were observed not wearing gloves, not washing their hands when they were dirty and not changing gloves when handling different food items. Continued on page 17