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Lewes, Delaware
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November 27, 1998     Cape Gazette
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November 27, 1998
 

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20 - CAPE GAZETYE, Friday, November 27 - December 3, 1998 Will replenishment wash up WWII ammo in Dewey, Rehoboth? occurred in other states and there State says no, but beachcornbing is no way of knowing where for- mer military ordnance may be lo- treasure hunters aren&apos;t quite as certain cared offshore without historical knowledge of military operations, ByMichael Short and pumped sand to the beach, it he said. Could there be ammunition apparently unknowingly pumped Such information, he is discov- found on Dewey and Rehoboth some of the material to the beach- ering, can be hard to find. Bill Beach in the wake of last sum- es as well. Winkler, an area resident who op- mer's beach replenishment pro- Delaware State Police were crates the business Treasure ject? called to dispose of two decaying, Quest, has raised the question of State officials say no, but local but live rounds of ammunition whether or not such ordnance treasure hunters areless certain, this month at Bethany.Beach that could be found farther north in The question has arisen because had been found by beachcombers other beach areas and whether or World War II vintage bullets, with metal detectors. A similar not the ordnance could have been spent casings (from already used round was found last month at responsible for beach replenish- ammunition) and shells have be- .Bethany Beachl merit dredge breakdowns last gun to turn up from .*ime to time in That has prompted Bob Henry summer. the Bethany -Beach and Sea of the Department of Natural Re- Henry, who admits the state is Colony areas after they were re- sources and Environmental Con- still searching for answers to an plenished last summer, trol (DNREC) to write tothe U.S. unexpected problem, does not The material is believed to be Army Corps of Engineers and ask think anything will show up in reminders of a time when the mil- for a recommendation of what to Rehoboth Beach or areas to the itary heavily used the beach areas do in the Bethany area. north, which were also replen- in World War II. Fort Miles and An answer could be received as ished. the tall observation towers that early as next week, but Henry He explained that Bethany dot beach areas are reminders of does not know what the Corps of Beach, Sea Colony and South the heavy military presence in this Engineers could suggest to deal Bethany were nourished with sand region, with a problem that has never be- from one site - never before.used. The ammunition is believed to fore arisen in Delaware. The site where Rehoboth Beach, have been used by the military, Henry said that he is trying to North Shores and Dewey Beach probably for target practice, and research the military history in the replenishment sand was dredged have been fired offshore. When area, but that information is diffi- from was a completely different the state dredged offshore areas cult to come by. The problem has site, he explained. Meeting in works on Rehoboth He also added that any dredge breakdowns appeared to be from routine seals or other, breakages Avenue extended; Bunting and considers it virtually impossi- ble that any ordnance detonated calls for Church Street light andcaused the problems. "It seems it would take an awful By Michael Short different times and was uncertain lot to make it explode," Henry A meeting Friday, Dec. 4, to discuss Rehoboth Avenue Extend- ed is now considered likely. The city of Rehoboth Beach, Delaware's Department of Trans- portation (DelDOT) and Sussex County are being invited to attend the meeting. While details are sketchy, the meeting is expected to deal with transportation issues in an area that is very much in the spotlight. Sen. George Bunting, D- Bethany Beach. said he had been told that a meeting was taking place. DelDOT Manager of External Af- fairs Michelle Ackles said DelDOT has been invited and plans to BUNTING attend. Re- hoboth Beach Mayor Sam Cooper said he has been told there is a meeting, but had been told two of details. A secretary in the Delaware Office of State Planning Coordi- nation said they have been trying to set up a meeting, but that noth- ing was definitive yet. While details are hard to come by, a meeting of the minds appears likely on Dec. 4. The reason for the sudden attention to the two- lane road, also known as Suss;ex IA, is that two major housing pro- jects have been proposed which would access Church Street nd probably also use Rehoboth Av- enue Extended. The Lingo project is for a possi- ble 195 units while the Cap,no project is for a possible 70 uni. DelDOT's Route I study is allso looking closely at this area. Possi- ble changes include a revamped entrance to Rehoboth Beach and a connection between Church Street and Hebron Road. "There's a lot of issues to be discussed," Ackles said. All of which has cast the small roadway. Continued on page 21 said. Delaware State Police Spokes- woman Cpl. Alice Bailey said the "primer in both [Bethany Beach] rounds had rusted from exposure to the salt water. [Bomb techni- cians] said the gunpowder inside could be live when it dries out." While Henry said he doubts anything will show up in northern areas, some local treasure seekers are less certain. Winkler said that Gary Sebastian of Millsboro al- *HAND PAINTE D FURNITURE* & Patricia Freedman Wright -AI/) Cup, tom Work- Call 302-227-6020 or 226-0951 CALL WILMINGTON COLLEGE GEORGETOWN (302) 586-5780 r NEW ORLEANS & ROUTE 1 DEWEY BEACH, DE * legedly found bullets or shell cas- ings in Dewey Beach, but Sebast- ian could not be reached for com- ment. Joyce Johnson of Lewes said she found a spent casing at the north end of Rehoboth Beach, just north of the jetty near the Henlopen Ho- tel within the last two weeks. Such a spent casing could not be consid- ered dangerous, but she thinks it dates from World War II and may. have been a .50 caliber casing. "It's not something that's brand- new Or all sparkling," she said, noting that the coloring and other indicators give an idea of how old ammunition can be. Art Bouder of Lancaster, Pa., said that he and his son found am- munition on the beach nohh of In- dian River Inlet and just below Dewey Beach. Bouder guesses that he and his son, Joshua, found the ammunition around the middle of September, but is uncertain of the exact date. He said they found seven live .22 casings and one spent casing. The live ammunition was in poor con- dition and they destroyed it, he said. Bouder, an avid treasure hunter, estimates that the ammuni- tion dates back to the 1940s. "I think they run into a lot of problems when they start blowing sand in," Bouder said, saying he avoids some beaches because of the trash deposited after a beach replenishment project. Henry was unaware of Bouder's discovery, but said that if the area is south of Dewey Beach, it is in the state park area and state park areas are not replenished. That would mean the material was not pumped onto the beach, but may have been sitting there for decades. Henry Said that park worl<ers will occasionally find such ammunition or materials dat- ing from the time of the military's use. "That is not that uncommon," Henry said. 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