Many events that took place during 2011 near the Delaware beach resorts were events that became national news. From a history making Miss Delaware to earthquakes and hurricanes to the filming of an episode of “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition,” 2011 is a year that many people will remember for a very long time, and not just at Delaware beach resorts.
Miss Delaware Kayla Martell
Crowned Miss Delaware 2010 at the Convention Hall in Rehoboth Beach on June 28, 2010, Kayla Martell became only the fourth contestant from Delaware to place in the top 10 finalists during the Miss America pageant in January 2011. Kayla, who suffers from alopecia areata, a condition that affects more than 4.7 million Americans, is completely bald. Kayla entered the pageant four times prior to winning, twice without wearing a wig, but found that she had better success with wigs than without. She began losing her hair at the age of 10, was born and raised in Milford, Delaware, a small town located about 10 miles north of Delaware beach resorts. She is now a spokesperson for the National Alopecia Areata Foundation.
Slain Police Officer Shooter Convicted
On February 8, Derrick Powell was convicted of murdering Georgetown police officer, Chad Spicer on September 1, 2009. Officer Spicer and his partner were attempting to stop a vehicle that had been involved in a shooting earlier in the evening. Powell was later sentenced to death in Officer Spicer’s murder. On May 5, a memorial in memory of Officer Spicer was placed on The Circle in Georgetown. Chad Spicer was a 1-year veteran of the Georgetown Police Department, the county seat of Sussex County, located approximately 10 miles east of Delaware beach resorts. Officer Spicer’s death was the first police shooting since 1972 in the state.
Civil Union Law
On May 11, Governor Jack Markell signed into law the same-sex civil union law, making Delaware the eighth state to enact such a law. The civil union legislation will go into effect on January 1, 2012 and offers same-sex partners the same rights, benefits and protections as married persons under Delaware law but does not permit same-sex couples to get marriage licenses. One of the most popular of the Delaware beach resorts, Rehoboth Beach, expects to see an increase in tourism related to the civil union legislation as the town is a popular location for beach weddings and also has a fairly large gay and lesbian population.
Extreme Makeover: Home Edition
In mid-August, the television show “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition” arrived at the Jusst Soup Ministries soup kitchen, located in Lewes, Delaware and surprised Reverend Dale Dunning with the news that they would be building her a home and soup kitchen on land that had been donated by a local contracting company. The home and soup kitchen was built, but after it was completed, Sussex County Council revoked the conditional use permit which would have allowed Reverend Dunning to serve food to the homeless from the location under pressure from neighbors who were concerned about the clientele who would be visiting the soup kitchen. Reverend Dunning is appealing that decision and will continue serving soup to those who need it on an invitation only basis, and at her other soup kitchen locations in the county while the zoning problem continues to work its way through the court system.
Probably the most unusual event to occur in the Delaware beach resort area in 2011 was the earthquake that was felt around 1:51 pm on August 23. The epicenter for the 5.1 magnitude earthquake occurred just south of Richmond, Virginia and could be felt all along the eastern shore of the United States. There was minimal damage from the earthquake and there were no reports of aftershocks on the shore.
On August 28, Hurricane Irene passed very close to the Delaware shore, spawning hurricanes in the Lewes area, minor flooding, downed trees and power lines. Despite the strong winds and rainfall estimated to be around 10 inches in Sussex County, the majority of the damage from the storm remained in the western section of the county. A tornado spawned by the hurricane damaged approximately a dozen homes in Lewes and uprooted trees as well. Several roads were closed due to downed power lines and trees, but overall, damage was minimal.
Demolition of Dr. Earl Bradley’s Office
On October 10, the office of Dr. Earl Bradley, a well-known pediatrician at Delaware beach resorts, was demolished after it was purchased by an anonymous buyer. The home, which did not sell at an auction earlier in the year, was the location where Dr. Bradley sexually molested hundreds of children. The new owner hopes to build a commercial building there that will erase the memories of Dr. Bradley and the horrendous acts he performed in his office. Dr. Bradley is serving multiple life sentences for his crimes.