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December 1, 2006     Cape Gazette
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December 1, 2006
 

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16 - CAPE.GAZETTE - Friday, December I - Monday, December 4, 2006 Sussex council violated open meeting law By Rachel Swick Cape Gazette staff When Sussex County Council discussed selecting a consultant for the land-use plan update, it violated Delaware's open meeting law. The Attorney General's Office last week returned a ruling against the council after a Greenwood res- ident filed a Freedom of Information Act request. However, the council's selection of a consultant was upheld. Dan Kramer of Greenwood attended the Aug. 22 meeting, when the selection of a consultant was announced. He said he thought there was "something fishy" about the council dis- cussing the consultant candidates during an executive session and sent a FOIA request to the Attorney General's Office. Executive sessions are reserved for discussions pertaining to land purchases or personnel, but not for discussion of hiring a consultant, the ruling states. During the Aug. 22 council meeting, the two top candidates for the job of consultant for the 2007 land use plan update gave presentations. Minutes after the two candidates were finished, the council called an executive ses- sion to discuss the presentations. When the council came back, they announced that they would hire Urban Research and Development Corp. to work on the land-use plan, which will include several public hearings next year. Deputy Attorney General Michael Tupman said the decision against the council does not affect the hiring of URDC. Kramer said it is interesting that the attorney general ruled against the council, but that nothing would change because of the deci- sion. He said FOIA complaints often have no "real teeth" because they do not result in a fine, but he hopes the council will follow cor- rect open meeting requirements from now on. County solicitor Jim Griffin called the error a "technical viola- tion" during the Tuesday, Nov. 28, council meeting in Georgetown. He said the error occurred during an executive session when the No new water-related health complaints By Kevin Spence Cape Gazette staff No new health complaints related to water quality have been reported since Nov. I l, when a few surfers from Lewes to Indian River inlet reported severe sinus infections after surfing local waters. In October, six surfers first reported acute upper respiratory illnesses after surfing off Grenoble Place in Rehoboth Beach where a storm drain outfall dumps into the Atlantic Ocean. The Surfrider Foundation, a national environmental advocacy group, said only two complaints from Rehoboth Beach have been filed this year with its internet- based ocean sickness reports. But a scientist with Delaware's Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control said since,the early 1990's, Rehoboth officials have uncombined their sewer and stormwater drains. Rehoboth officials also say water quality " tests have indicated Estates Wanted CONSIGNMENTS BEING ACCEPTED FOR STUART KINGSTON SERIES OF AUCTIONS ANTIQUE FURNITURE, ART, RUGS, JEWELRY, CRYSTAL, SILVER, TOYS, AUTOMOBILES AND COLLECTIBLES NO ITEM TOO SMALL. NO ESTATE TOO LARGE CALL FOR DATES & APPRAISALS STUART K00GSTON, One Grenoble Place Rehoboth, DE 19971 W WW.STUARTKI NGSTON.COM 302-227-2524 888-407-0433 healthier lakes in recent years. Sergio Huerta, of DNREC, said water testing has been scheduled, however, officials are waiting for storm conditions and low tide to coincide to get water samples that might be useful. "We want to make sure we get a sample that exhibits true condi- tions," said Sergio Huerta. He also said DNREC has not received any surfing-related illness complaints. "Once we have the results we will make them known," he said. Aside from DNREC's pledge to test local waters, the Surfrider Foundation's local chapter presi- dent Mark Carter said regular test- ing will resume. "Our task force will take a look at it first hand," he said. Carter reported no new ill- ness complaints. Surfriders' Delaware chapter will meet at 7 p.m., Monday, Dec. 4, upstairs at Dogfish Head Brewings & Eats, 320 Rehoboth Ave. Contact Kevin Spence at kspence @capegazette.com. Vacuum cleaner among the loot stolen in burglary State police are investigating a burglary that occurred between 8 a.m., Nov. 19, and 5 p.m., Nov. 25, at a residence in Henlopen Station in Rehoboth Beach. Cpl. Jeff Oldham, state police spokesman, said the victim arrived home and found the sliding glass door of her home was broken open. She said someone removed a Sony DVD/VCR player, Eureka vacuum and two bottles of rum. The estimated damage to the property was $600, and the value of the stolen property was about $300. Police are asking anyone with infor- mation about the case to call Det. John Messick at 856-5850, Ext. 213. The Perfect Holiday Gift ,'-" "lik'i" -" , - - i:-[ -" " , "a6s00 ,6i@- "i6s/; "6i:]:" I Pro Kit Upgrade I Delivery a Lo. I Select 2-piece I All in Stock i | wtth The Purchase Of [ 0n MI Gold & Phlinum Series ] | Billiard Hghts I I Any Bmd Tle I B,d l I Cuesticks I I , "1 302-644-4732 II 302-644-4732 | 302-644-4732 | 302-644-4732 I I ththlscUln-Ntalldwlthlherffers- [ Witb this coupon: Not valid with othez offets. | With Uais coupon. Not valid with olher olfes. | Withthiscotmpon.Notvalidwitholheroffets. I Offer expir 12Jo4)6 -- Offer expires 1Z6-06 Offer expires 164)6 = Offer expires 12-6-06 i m m m m m m m im n m I mm im im m m im im m m m -L1 m m m m m m m m m m -!-- m m J subject of the consultants came up during a discussion on filling a vacancy in the finance depart- ment. "We do not believe that any remediation is necessary for this violation of the open-meeting law because the public was substan- tially involved in the process by which the council awarded the contract to one of the two consult- ants," wrote Tupman m the rul- ing. The council will meet again at 10 a.m. on Tuesday, Dec. 5, in council chambers in Georgetown. All meetings are open to the pub- lic. Team Steve Malcom SHOULD YOU RENT IF YOU CANNOT SELL? If you are trying to sell in a market where you can't get the price you want, should you consider renting your home until the market conditions improve? It is a good idea to consider the issue fully before putting a "for rent" ad in the local Classifieds. First, there are no assurances about when the market will be better than it is right now. Even if the market improves, selling a tenant- occupied home can be trickj depending on your lease with the tenants and local tenant protection laws. The tenants may reasonably want tO limi the access of Realtors and buyer t O your house (which they have now come to think of as their own). If yotir home has been rented, it may not reflect your pride of ownership when you are ready to sell. If. you decide to rent your home, be sure to familiarize yourself with local tenant/ landlord laws, conduct a credit check/and contact the references listed on the application before signing a lease agreement. For professional advice on all aspects of buying or selling real estate, consult "The Results Team" at Long and- Foster. Call Steve at (302) 542-7473 or (800) 462-3224 (ext. 473). steve@resultsteamonline.com