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December 24, 1998     Cape Gazette
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December 24, 1998

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II A Christmas gift for Sussex: Polk Hill Island Conservationists, 1; Developers, 0 By Michael Short The Nature Conservancy has just acquired Polk Hill Island, an island in Little Assawoman Bay that was on the market to be de- veloped as a home site. Polk Hill Island is not a name people are likely to know, but the 12-acre island contains roughly seven acres of loblolly pine forests, ponds, marshes and some of the highest land in the inland bays. Within a stone&apos;s throw of South Bethany Beach and accessible on- ly by boat, it is the last island in Little Assawoman Bay that is ca- pable of being developed. The land borders the As- sawoman refuge but sits only a few hundred yards away from South Bethany. It is a beautiful site, and while it would make a beautiful home, it makes a better nature preserve. The Nature Conservancy is per- haps best known for its efforts to purchase and protect land. While other nature groups tend to cry loudly and then often retire to lick their wounds, the Nature Conser- vancy puts its money where its mouth is. The result is that it has pre- served large tracts of priceless lands, giving the organization an almost unparalleled record of suc- cess. Ultimately, the island will likely become a part of Assawoman Wildlife Area. The land was put on the market OUTDOORS Michael Short Cape Region Fishing Rep0rl before being was purchased by lo- cal homeowners known as the Luckow Family Foundation. The Luckow Family bought the land for $265,000, then promptly Noted coach Sonny Smith to speak at Slam Dunk banquet The Slam Dunk to the Beach National Holiday Basketball Invi- tational has announced that re- cently retired head basketball coach of Virginia Commonwealth, Sonny Smith, will be one of the guest speakers for the tournament banquet, set for 7:30 p.m., Satur- day, Dec. 26, at the BayCenter in Dewey Beach. Smith, in addition to his coach- ing prowess, is best known for his humorous banquet-circuit story- telling, and is one of the most sought after speakers in the coun- try. Throughout his coaching career, Smith has received many awards and honors, as well as invitations to appear before some of the world's most influential, powerful and political figures. Slam Dunk founder, executive director and CEO Robert Jacobs was excited about landing Smith as a speaker. "His attendance and presence at the tournament will bring about an even loftier national recognition and exposure to this prestigious event," said Jacobs. The Slam Dunk to the Beach tournament will be played Satur- day, Dec. 26 through Wednesday, Dec. 30, at Cape Henlopen High School in Lewes. The event will feature 39 teams playing 44 games in six separate divisions. Tickets for this year's national tournament are $55 for a season ticket and $20 for daily tickets, if available, and will only be sold at the door. Season tickets can be purchased at all Grotto Pizza locations in Delaware, or at the Boscov's cour- tesy desk in Dover. For complete tournament and ticket information, contact Jacobs at the Slam Dunk office, 302-734- SLAM. Slam Dunk opens Web site for up-to-date information on high school basketball The Slam Dunk to the Beach National Holiday Basketball Invi- tational and its corporate business division have announced the be- ginning of a new age of business for this nationally recognized tournament. Beginning with this year's ninth tournament, a Web page will be unveiled with updated Slam Dunk news. \\;Robert Jacobs, the founder, di- rector and CEO of the tourna- ment, said he was elated to break new ice and set a precedent for other high school athletic events. "So many people fail to recog- nize the business of sport in high school athletics in today's society, especially state athletic adminis- trators who oversee high school athletics. "They continue to fail to realize that their very existence is due to high school athletics and the ath- letes who participate," Jacobs said. "High school sports is a busi- ness and it must be run as such. We are once again taking the lead in moving into the 21st century, thus causing many tournaments, state high school athletic associa- tions and organizations to be left behind. "We are very excited and proud that we are once again on the cusp and cutting edge of the business of sport through high school ath- letics." To access the new Web page, enter <www.slamdunktothe->. The Web site will give game and schedule information, player profiles, team profiles and up-to- the-minute game and box score information on the tournament it- self as it progresses. For more information, contact Jacobs at 302-734-7526. Bombay Hook reopens snow goose hunts Due to heavy use by snow geese of the Bombay Hook tidal marsh areas known as Money Ma/sh, Leatherberry Flats and George's Island, the refuge will reopen for hunting beginning Dec. 18. Hunt- ing will be permitted each Mon- day, Wednesday and Friday until further notice. There will be no hunting Christmas Day. Permits will be issued at refuge he.adquar- ters beginning one hour before le- gal shooting time on the day of the hunt. Permits will be limited to 30 parties of up to four individu- als and a ticket lottery will be held if necessary. Hunters arriving af- ter the lottery will be issued per- mits on a first come, first served, basis until 3 p.m. Only federally- approved nontoxic shot may be .used and only snow geese may be taken. turned over the deed to the Nature Conservancy. "It was imminently threat- ened...This is one of the last lynchpins down there on the north end of Little Assawoman Bay," said Roger Jones, director of the Delaware chapter of the Na- ture Conservancy. One more gift As your wallets groan and moan, here is one more gift idea, albeit a late idea, since it may be Christmas Day by the time you read this: Delaware offers two environ- mental license plates; proceeds from their sales are used to help clean up the Delaware Estuary and inland bays. The plates cost $35 and $20 will go to benefit either the estuary or the inland bays. They are avail- able from the Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV). Send your application and $35 check or money order to DMV Administration Office, Special Tag, P.O. Box 698, Dover, Del. 19903 or call 856-5176 for more information. Stripers still there for hardy souls By Michael Short The fishing report is winding down to its final weeks as fewer fishermen venture out into win- ter's icy grasp. There are still striped bass available and some freshwater fishing, tautog and bluefish for hardy souls. In fact, the striped bass fishing is still quite good, but it's about time to either concentrate on hunt- ing or focus on spring and dream of the first mackerel run. Stripers and blues R&R's Kelly Racz reported that Don Cochran caught a 25.86- pound striped bass, and James Hall worked the surf for a 11.6- pound bluefish. Four bluefish, the largest of which was 38 inches in length; short stripers were taken on mullet at the Naval Jetty. There are lots of small stripers at the state park pier after dark. Racz suggested either fishing the rips in Delaware Bay or working close to the beach in about 40 feet of water with either bucktalls or spoons between Hen and Chicken Shoals and the inlet for larger fish. Bluefish are chomping eels and interfering with striper fishing in Delaware Bay, according to Bill's Sport Shop's Kathy Baker. Re- ports of striper catches at 8A Buoy, the Outer Wall and Over- falls Shoal are still coming in. Scott Slonaker caught a 23.3- pound striper taken on a live eel at Overfalls Shoal. Indian River Baker said that Indian River In- let is giving up lots of shad and herring. Anglers are using shad dart, Fin-S jigs or spec rigs with light tackle. A 25.10-pound citation striper was weighed in from the jetty by John Korman who caught his lim- it with windcheater and bomber plugs. There are reports of anglers rig- ging live shad and herring to land large stripers. Steve Wright weighed in a citation 20.75-pound striper from the rocks caught on a plug. Dover Downs track gets finishing touches After four complete racing sea- sons, the concrete racing surface at Dover Downs has met its goal of providing clean racing on a consistent surface for NASCAR's Winston Cup and Busch Grand National competitions. With precision grinding work to remove imperfections, it also proved suitable for the lower- style and lighter-style indy cars in last summer's Pep Boys Indy Racing League inaugural. In preparation for the 1999 sea- son, the same laser-guided grind- ing technique is being used to touch up the surface in several lo- cations to promote even better racing conditions for all divisions. rideable surf conditions. The new date for the Ho Ho will begin at 8:30 a.m., Saturday, Jan. 2, at the north side of the In- dian River Inlet. For more information, contact Harry Wilson at 227-4011. Poor conditions again postpone Ho Ho event The 1998 Ho Ho Surf-Off was once again delayed because of un-