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Lewes, Delaware
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October 31, 1997     Cape Gazette
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October 31, 1997
 

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State says Cape didn't violate information act - Pg. 1 11 Delaware's Cape Region Friday, October 31 - Thursday, November 6, 1997 Volume 5, No. 23 Mass turnout slams door on Sussex housing code Angle Moon photo Richard and Melody Hudson of Clarksville protest Sussex County's proposed owner-occu- pied housing code on Tuesday, Oct. 21 on the Circle in Georgetown. Hundreds of angry resi- dents turned out for a public hearing that morning before Sussex County Council unani- mously voted down the proposed code. By Michael Short Vance Phillips said it may have been a "defining moment." Phillips was talking about what everyone is talking about this week: Tuesday's public hearing on a housing code for owner- occupied housing. A massive public turnout doomed the pro- posed county ordinance as speak- er after speaker railed against the ordinance. They came by the hundreds to the hearing at Del Tech. Drivers parked on the side of the road because there was no parking left at the college. The 300-seat capacity theater overflowed into a solid sea of humanity that stretched all the way to the doors of the theater building. Some estimates put the crowd at 1,000 or more. Many were angry and every single speaker opposed the ordinance before Sussex County Council voted it down 5-0. Several quoted the con- stitution, Rep. Ben Ewing (R- Bridgeville) tossed matches to County Administrator Bob Stick- els and suggested he put them to good use. Thm:e was a bag of feathers and two cans of roof cement labeled tar on the stage in front of the Sus- sex County Council members. Members of the police stood at either side of the stage and offered escorts to county officials. Petitions circulated through the crowd, which was sometimes unruly and often angry. A few people wore tea bags to symbol- ize the Sussex County Tea Party, and some members of the audi- ence carried signs that said "No Trespassing," a reference to con- cerns that the ordinance would allow county officials to trample the constitution and inspect a home at any time with or without the owner's permission. The ordinance was designed to provide minimum housing stan- dards for owner-occupied hous- ing. It would have set standards for such homes and would have allowed inspections and fines of $25 to $2,500 for a violation. The county already has a code for rented housing and this partic- ular ordinance was developed after residents in Warwick Park Continued on page 15 Snow goose numbers hit all-time high in Delaware By Michael Short The number of snow geese in Delaware has hit an all-time high with nearly 400,000 snow geese taking flight in the First State. Most of those birds are concentrated at Bombay Hook or Prime Hook Wildlife Refuges in numbers that dizzy the imagina- tion. In fact, the goose population has grown so large that officials worry the birds are destroying habitat by tearing up marsh plants and stripping marshes naked. Delaware's population of snow geese, counted in aerial surveys last week, is roughly 371,715 birds. It's a conservative estimate and the true figure is over 400,000. There were approximately 40,000 birds in western Sussex in an area not usually part of the waterfowl survey. Because of that, the 40,000 birds were not counted this year. But the figure still shatters last year's snow goose numbers by about 100,000. To provide some reference, the human popula- tion of Sussex County in 1990 was 113,229, which means there are probably far more snow geese in southern Delaware than there are people. This year's figure not only breaks the old snow goose record, which was established last year, but it shatters it. And the figures may grow higher because this year's flocks contain very large numbers of. young birds that haven't nested yet. "It is absolutely amazing. Nobody could have imagined this," according to Lloyd Alexander, state wildlife administrator. He said that 20 years ago, a hunting season for snow geese was opened despite concerns that hunting pressure could hurt the popula- tion. "They were uncommon," Alexander said. At that time, there were huge flocks of Canada geese and only. a few thousand snow geese in Delaware. That's come full Continued on page 17 Forget falling stocks, it's Punkin' Chunkin' time Locals aim to reclaim world championship By Dennis Forney If you think falling stock prices were the biggest story on the front page of the "Wall Street Journal" in the past week, think again. Plummeting pumpkins played bigger. That New York City-based bas- tion of American free enterprise and conservatism devoted prime space on page one of its Thursday, Oct. 23, edition to the great Amer- ican sport of Punkin' Chunkin', born in Sussex County. The story focused on September's annual Pumpkin Festival in Morton, Ill. and on this weekend's World Championship Punkin' Chunkin' competition Walking among machines and teams assembling on Joe Hud- son's Eagle Crest Aerodrome field along Route 1 on Thursday, Capt. Harry "Speed" Lackhove said the article gave the week- end's event a tremendous boost. "The phone's been ringing off the hook," said the Punkin' Chunkers Association president. "CBS called today and said they'll have a crew here to broadcast live dur- ing their Sunday morning pro- gram - about 8 a.m. Last week I was live on the air on WQSR in Baltimore, and this week I spoke to outfits in Virginia Beach,;Saskatchewan, Canada; and North Carolina. I'm spread- ing Capt. Speed's gospel through- out the land." Lackhove, whose Mello Yello X team has been working for the past few months to try to regain the world championship lost last year to an Illinois team, said he thinks his machine will win hand- ily this year. "The winning throw, I'd say, Will be in the neighbor- hood of 4,000 feet. I plan to shoot Continued on page 12