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November 3, 2000     Cape Gazette
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November 3, 2000

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INSIDE: 5O Delaware's Cape Region Friday, November 3 - Thursday, November 9, 2000 Volume 8 No. 24 Delaware, nation head to the polls Tuesday, Nov. Politicos will bury the hatchet Nov. 9- pg. 98 By Michael Short The eyes of the nation are likely to turn toward Delaware Tuesday, Nov. 7, because of what is expected to be an agonizingly close race for the Senate between incum- bent Sen. Bill Roth and his challenger Tom Carper. The Roth and Carper race, pitting one of the most powerful members of the Senate against a popular governor, may be the marquee race. There are plenty of other races to attract and hold the interest of voters, too. Voters have a chance to elect a female governor for the first time in Delaware's history. Lt. Gov. Ruth Ann Minner's lead in the polls .is shrinking, and challenger John Burris expects the race to further tighten. Burris, speaking Nov. 2, said he thought he had pulled to within five percentage points of Minner. He hasn't attracted the attention, but Independent candidate for governor Floyd McDowell brings impressive credentials and a fiery passion to the race. Voters will also elect a congressman, an insurance commissioner and a lieutenant governor. As always, Delaware has the chance to have a lieutenant governor and governor of two different parties. The race between Republican Dennis Rochford and Democrat John Carney has the potential to also come down to the wire. For Congress, voters will have a choice between enormously popular incumbent Republican Michael Castle, who has earned a reputation as a hard working mod- erate who can get things done, and Continued on page 16 These aerial photographs show the devastation wreaked by two fires in the Cape Region late Monday night, Oct. 30, and early Tuesday morning, Oct. 31. Above, all that remains is rubble and pilings of a home on Broadkill Beach from a fire that claimed five lives, scorched surrounding properties and caused an estimated $250,000 in damage early Tuesday. Dick Gooner photos Above, five unoccupied homes were destroyed and three others heavily damaged in The Chancellery, an exclusive oceanside community just south of Dewey Beach. Delaware fire marshals suspect arson in that blaze, which caused an estimated $10 million in damage. Two firefighters were treated for injuries sustained fighting the Monday night fire. Cape Region fires claim five lives, millions in damage Search for clues in fatal fire under wav a See obituaries - page 14 By Kerry Kester Tragedy struck a Milton family Oct.-31, when a fire consumed a doublewide mobile home on Broadkill Beach, claiming the lives of all but one member of the family. Debbie Mitchell, 38, is the sole survivor of the fire that killed her husband Dick H. Mitchell, 49; daughter Shannon Gates, 18; her grandson Donald Wheeler III, 23 months; her Son John Patrick "JP" Schofield, 10; and her son Matthew Elisha Schofield, 9. Mitchell is at Beebe Medical Center, where she is being treated for her injuries. Delaware State Fire Marshal's Office, Sussex County division, is investigating the cause of the fire that was reported at 2 a.m. Assistant Fire Marshal Willard Preston III said investigators do not know Continued on page 11 Investigators believe Dewey fire is arson By Kerry Kester The Delaware State Fire Marshal's Office, Sussex County division, is investi- gating an arson case that caused an esti- mated $10 million in damage tofive homes in The Chancellery, south of Dewey Beach. "We know how the fire started," said Assist,nt Fire Marshal Willard Preston IlL "What we found is someone intentionally ignited flammable or combustible material with an open flame." No one was injured in the blaze that was discovered in a home under construction at 10:30 p.m., Oct. 30, at 6 Hall Ave. When the Rehoboth Beach Volunteer Fire Company responded to the structure, the building was fully engulfed in fire, and high winds were propelling flames toward. three other nearby homes. Several other structures were also dam- Continued on page 22