Tragic deaths, damaging rains and developments are top news events

The year 2006 was one of tragedy with the deaths of two local soldiers in Iraq. The total of local heroes to lose their lives in Iraq now stands at three. The year will also be remembered for the Sunday morning flood that washed out bridges and roadways. In 2006 we also witnessed some of the consequences of fast-paced development. In Laurel the Discovery Project was given approval by the Town Council while at the same time a group was forming to protest the proposal. The Discovery Project made the front page of the Laurel Star 11 times in 2006. In Seaford an annexation election was defeated when a group of Hearn's Pond-area citizens organized a campaign against it. Another citizen-led protest was successful in blocking the construction of a tower in the Woodland area. Other highlights of the year included the retirement of state Rep. Tina Fallon after decades of service to her constituents. In Laurel the longest store on the shore grew even larger with the opening of the Johnny Janosik World of Furniture Galleries, which held a ribbon cutting at its new 180,000-square foot store on Trussum Pond Road in late October. In Delmar the Blackwater project was introduced. In Bridgeville the Heritage Shores project, just one year old, completed the construction of more than 100 homes. Tragedy, growth, protest and rainfall make up most of the major headlines. The following reports are taken from the pages of the Seaford and Laurel Star newpapers. From the May 11, 2006 edition Cory Palmer's birthday was yesterday. The 2002 Seaford High School graduate would have been 22. But there was no celebration. Palmer, the son of Charles and Danna Palmer of Seaford, died this weekend after being wounded May 1 in a roadside bombing in Iraq. Palmer's uncle, Ralph Palmer, also of Seaford, said on Monday that one Marine was killed outright in the explosion and that Cory was badly burned. He added that Charles and Danna Palmer were in Texas, where they flew to meet their son after learning that he had been injured. Cory died while being flown from Germany.

May 18, 2006 edition
Seaford has lost another young man to the war in Iraq. Just one week after Cory Palmer died from injuries he received May 1, Lance Cpl. Richard "Rick" James, 20, was killed. He is the son of Kenny "Jake" and Carol James of Seaford. This was his second tour in Iraq. Jake James said that his son, a lance corporal, was killed Saturday in Ramadi. "They said his unit was fighting an enemy ambush and he was hit by small arms fire," James said. The James family learned of their son's death at about 5 p.m. Saturday. His mother had talked with him by phone just two days before. James is the third Seaford man to be killed in Iraq. In addition to Palmer, Ryan Long, 21, a 1999 graduate of Seaford High School, was killed near Baghdad April 3, 2003, in a suicide bombing.

June 29, 2006 edition
The rains came Sunday and left behind a path of destruction in the Seaford area. More than 13 inches of rain fell turning small streams in raging rivers causing numerous road washouts, a dam failure, home and business destruction and evacuations. Gov. Ruth Ann Minner declared a state of emergency in the Seaford area late Monday afternoon. When it was all said and done, almost a dozen roads and at least three bridges were washed out and nearly 40 roads were affected or damaged as the Seaford-Blades area became almost isolated from the rest of Delmarva. September 21, 2006 edition Seaford voters have overwhelmingly rejected a proposal to annex more than 600 acres into the city. In balloting Monday afternoon, citizens and property owners said no by a three-to-one margin to the annexation of six parcels, five of which form a 559-acre block of farmland south of Hearn's Pond that stretches from alternate U.S. 13 to Conrail Road. The sixth, 45-acre parcel is on Old Furnace Road. The vote came after a campaign by a group of Hearn's Pond-area citizens against the annexation. A flyer that members of the group handed out door-to-door in neighborhoods throughout the city and that is headed "Beware" said that the annexation could triple the city's population. Owners of four of the six parcels were requesting that their parcels be zoned for high-density residential development.

Dec. 21, 2006 edition
The Laurel Town Council Monday night OK'd the first reading of an ordinance that would rezone about 500 acres north of town as a large parcel development overlay district. That zoning would open the way for development of the Discovery Project. Preliminary plans for the project call for 1,400 homes, two stadiums, an amusement park and baseball and soccer fields. The first reading passed unanimously. The property, on U.S. 13 near the former site of the Laurel Drive-In, still has to be annexed by the town. The first reading of an annexation proposal passed the council at its last meeting, Dec. 4. Second and final readings of the annexation and the rezoning could be held in January. Feb. 9, 2006 edition Nearly all of the more than 40,000 books, DVDs, compact discs and videos that belong to the Laurel Public Library are packed into boxes, ready to be moved from the library's temporary quarters on Market Street back to Fourth Street and the newly-expanded library. The nearly two-year library expansion project is expected to be complete in March, said Ed Ralph, president of the library board. Assistant director Mary Brittingham can't wait to get in the new facility, which she calls "beautiful." "The community will just love it," she added. "Everybody will be very happy with it."

Oct. 12, 2006 edition
A public hearing for the Blackwater Creek golf course development proposed for 708 acres about three miles west of Delmar was held by Sussex County Council last Tuesday morning. Much to county councilman Vance Phillips' disappointment, no one from the community around the proposed development showed up at the hearing. "Not one person showed up to oppose the development," said Phillips, whose district includes the Blackwater Creek area. "I was shocked. I was looking forward to the public hearing, to hear what the people in the community thought. Because of the lack of opposition at the public hearing, I have to think that the community's concerns have been met."

Oct. 19, 2006 edition
Auction goers arrived from New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Maryland and Delaware for the estate sale of Gov. and Mrs. Elbert Carvel, held Saturday Oct. 14, at Jos. C O'Neal & Sons in Laurel. Some arrived out of curiosity, some were looking for a specific item, but most arrived with boxes in hand and an anticipation of treasure. The hundreds of people who were present competed against absentee, phone, and 500 registered online bidders from around the world. Matthew Reynolds, currently serving in Iraq with the Texas National Guard, sent his requests with sister Lynn Parks, Seaford.

News tips wanted
Call us with ideas for news and features. We're always looking for good stories to share with readers. Call Bryant Richardson at 629-9788.