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Lewes, Delaware
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November 8, 1996     Cape Gazette
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November 8, 1996
 

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19.. CAPE GAZETTE, Friday, November 8 - November 14, 1996 Milton Main Street working hard to avoid detours By Rosanac Pack When Milton Main Street organization meets next week, Thursday, Nov. 12, mem- bets hope that area residents will join them to learn of new projects and to help make new plans. The open meeting is at 7 p.m. in the Milton County Library. The past president and current president admittedly come from different mindsets on some issues; however, they definitely agree on a major point: the group needs members and participation. Recently-elected president Don Post is excited that there will soon be some tan#- Me evidence of the group's work and value to the town. New Christmas decorations for down- town are on order and easements for a key link in the Governors' Walk have been ob- tained, both functions of Milton Main Street. According to Post, it won't be long before residents and visitors can see the new wreaths and lights, and plans for the stretch ofalleyway between two downtown buildings are moving past talk. "But we need people; those of us who are active have lots of ideas for projects, and we want more people to get on board," Post said. "This town has so much promise; we mostly need more support and more people to come with ideas and some volunteer time." Immediate past president, Tony Boyd- Heron echoes Post's thoughts: "We need greater input and participation from Milton residents. People who really are interested in the direction of the town have an oppor- tunity to make their views known;.but we need volunteers to achieve plans that we make." Boyd-Heron, the owner of CapL William Russell House Bed and Breakfast in Milton, said that he is concerned that the focus of Milton Main Street might be too narrowly aimed at the immedi- ate central street in town. He agrees that the holiday decora- tions and the addition to the Governors' Walk will be good signs of accomplish- ment of the program, but he wants to make sure that the direction BOYD-IIERON of Main Street pro- gram encompasses more than just that, Main Street. '`i don't believe that all energies need to go for just downtown," he said, 'q'be Mil- ton Main Street program's sphere of inter- est should be the entire historic district. A lot can be done throughout the historic dis- trict that brings people into town, and that in turn benefits all of Milton. "If we bring people into town, it will en- courage other businesses to locate here. I don't want to concentrate so on Main Street that those other than downtown business people don't have any interest in becoming involved." Post, owner of Jail House Art & Antiques on Main Street in Milton, wants people to know that the organization is taking a role in town-wide events initiated and carried out by the Milton Chamber of Commerce and in promoting the town in general. The newly purchased Christmas decorations will be up in time for the Chamber Holly Festival and Friends of the Library House Tour Saturday, Dec. 14. And Milton Main Street has allocated money to fund advertis- ing for the events as well as for promotion of general shopping opportunities in the town. "We have talked about so many plans; but we do need to come to agreement and make more decisions," Post said, "It seems as if there is someone waiting to shoot down any plan that someone else comes up with. But there are a lot of good things that we have discussed. Such as flower boxes for POST downtown, replacing the cement sidewalks with brick, having artist renderings of ideas for empty build- ings that are downtown." He said the city and the state have ap- proved all necessary easements for the al- leyway project that will take the Governors' Walk between downtown buildings owned by the Hudson family and Frank Casey. The project is a cooperative one between the town and Milton Main Street. Post said plans include laying brick in sand colored mortar and having an archway sign to iden- tify the walkway. "Lynn Rogers will be making our arch- way sign, and it will be hammered by hand; it's going to be very distinctive," he said, "This will bring people out fight in the heart of town. "What we need is downtown revitaliza- tion. Some 'oomph' to attract people." Boyd-Heron thinks that the organization, therefore the town as a whole could benefit from more support from city officials. He said too many people in town seem to have the attitude that they will sit back and watch to see if the program is successful or not. "I know that it is typical of a small town, whether it is in Delaware or anywhere else. People don't tend to get involved," he said."But we need to convince the city fa- thers that it is vital to plan for change rather than wait for change to overrun us. "People do not appreciate change. But change is inevitable, whether we like it or not; it will come, and we should be plan- ning for it." The bed and breakfast owner said that some might think that planning and change as proposed by Milton Main Street might bring more of what residents don't want, such as traffic, development and a change in the nature of the town. "But what we don't want is sudden un- planned for growth," he said. '%Ve want to try to keep things in Milton that are attrac- tive to people, the quaintness, the quietness, the general ambiance of the town." Post is hopeful that the look of downtown and the spirit of enthusiasm of several of the merchants will be contagious during the holiday season. He said that the artificial greens and lights will be supplemented by natural greens that downtown merchants and some homeowners will be using. Whatever the problems of Milton Main Street might be, Boyd-Heron is a fLrm be- liever in the philosophy of the program. He points out that the group has consistently encouraged the town to become involved, and does not give up hope that the comple- tion of some projects will attract interest and membership. "What has been lacking is positive, phys- ical signs of action," he said. "The archway and the new section of the Governors' Walk should serve that." For information on the Nov. 12 Milton Main Street meeting call 684-8660. Snow geese Continued from page 1 has fallen so low that hunting sea- son has been completely canceled for the second year (a limited sea- son was allowed for resident, non- migratory birds.) But it has helped little. All the biological experts in the world can't make up for bad weather and Whittendale said "it is going to be a slow process." The Oct. 22 and 23 count found 17,758 Canada geese in Delaware. In the 1970s, the Canada was the king of Delaware waterfowl, but the numbers have declined drasti- cally. Whittendale said Delaware dropped the length of its hunting season when everyone began to notice the birds declining popula- tion around 1982. But the shorter season didn't de- crease hunting pressure. In fact, it tended to increase it, Whittendale said. He said that states tinkered with regulations (Delaware dropped the length of goose sea- son from 90 to 77 days). But it wasn't enough, he said. He has heard the situation de- scribed as chasing a ball down hill. Poor breeding years meant few- er young birds. Young birds are not particularly bright and are more inclined to be killed during bunting season than older birds. They sometimes act as "cannon fodder" and mean fewer of the older, mature birds will be taken when hunting season opens. With fewer young birds, hunters were shooting the older birds. Es- sentially, they were killing part of the brood stock for the population. In 1992, there were only 17 young birds shot out of every 117 birds killed by Delaware hunters. That's a dismal ratio, which means there are few young birds entering the population. Whittendale said the population will come back, but he said that it is a slow process. "I have ab- solutely no doubt the population will come back," he said. But geese are slow.r to rebound be- cause they don't breed until they are at least three years old (ducks are mature at one year). "It took us up 15 to 20 years to get into the fix we're in," Whitten- dale said. Snow geese, on the other hand, have had good breeding success, according to Prime Hook Wildlife Refuge Biologist Annie Larsen. There are an estimated 70,000 snow geese at Prime Hook and Whittendale said early counts show as many as half of the birds are young birds. That means good breeding success and many new birds entering the flocks. In fact, there are so many geese that local farmers have taken to calling Prime Hook to complain about the geese leaving Prime Hook and swarming over their crops. "We are getting calls from farmers who are kind of irritated," she said. Snow geese nest in the Hudson Bay area, but they have had better weather for nesting, Larsen said. "They've had excellent nesting for the last ten years." She said that the number of snow geese has another impact on Canada geese, namely that the number of snow geese just over- whelm them and force them out of some areas. She said that the birds get along fine in equal numbers. But when huge flocks of snow geese bear down on a field with a few hun- dred Canada geese, the Canada geese tend to get squeezed into a comer of the field before the in- timidated geese eventually go packing for other areas. The following is a rundown on the numbers found by Whitten- dale: there were 17,758 Canada geese, 277,550 snow geese and 117,564 ducks. The duck break- down is as follows: 699 shovelets, 5,122 scaup, 1,418 wood ducks, 7,043 black ducks, 15,775 mal- lards, 900 ruddy ducks, 45,750 greenwing teal, 31,040 pintails, 2,189 gadwalls, 51 mergansers and 7,577 widgeon. By far, the most numerous ducks were greenwing teal and pintails. Teal and pintails also like to follow snow goose populations and feed in areas already dis- turbed by feeding geese. ,nOs moon imeto Snow geese numbers continue to siral upward. The Octo- ber waterfowl count conducted by state biologist Tom Whit- tendale found more than 270,000 birds in Delaware. While snow geese continue to reach record population highs, Calm. da geese numbers continued to dip to a near record low of on- ly 17,758 birds during the Oct. 22 and 25 count More good news for hunters and bird watcherE duck num- bers continue to be very good with 117,564 ducks counted dur- ing Delaware's October waterfowl count. That number is about equal to last year, according to whitten- dale, who said duck numbers are very good throughout Delaware. Delaware duck hunters reportedly did quite well during the second phase of hunting season in the Prime Hook area, which ends Sat- urday, Nov. 9. Prime Hook has about 22,000 greenwing teal right now, Larsen said. The refuge manages its vast impoundments to increase the amount of waterfowl, adjusting water levels and trying to control phragmites plants so other plants will grow which are more benefi- cial to ducks, geese and other ani- mals. "The tables are set (for wildlife)," she said.