Hopeful developments with the bus driver shortage, other local news

In this week's newsletter: Bus crunch may ease, fish for free, Juneteenth celebrations and more.

Hopeful developments with the bus driver shortage, other local news

This edition of our weekly newsletter is brought to you by the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control.

The new provisions in the plastic carryout bag ban will become effective on July 1. Delaware retailers, except restaurants, won’t be able to provide customers single-use plastic bags at checkout anymore. Learn more at de.gov/bags.

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Here's a look at news and events from around southern Delaware this week.

Bus driver shortage isn't over, but may get less severe

Issues with finding bus drivers have not gone away, but Lake Forest School District has been able to navigate the challenges and keep buses from getting overcrowded this year, Transportation Supervisor Dustin Weller told the school board at its last meeting.

“We’ve really been able to fill the gaps and keep transportation rolling, really without the dreaded phone call that some other districts have had, of ‘Our bus isn’t running today, your child needs to find a ride to school,’” Weller said. They have had to reconfigure routes, though, and some students have changed buses multiple times to make things work. And it’s always a real possibility a bus might not run because of a lack of drivers, Weller said.

But things are looking up.

“As we’ve kind of started to come out of the pandemic, we are getting more drivers going through training, becoming certified,” Weller said.

School districts may get a big boost from the state. Contractors have long been pointing to a lack of money for driver pay as an issue. The state’s draft budget this year includes $11.7 million to increase driver pay, along with more money for other expenses, Delaware Live’s Charlie Megginson reported. The funding formula would factor in driver pay at $21 an hour instead of $15.92 an hour.

Why there’s a bus driver shortage, and possible ways to fix it
The kids are back in school — but getting them to and from the building has been a headache, just as the prophecies this summer foretold. It’s a problem years in the making and a lot of issues converged to make it the huge headache it is now, industry insiders

Fish for free

This weekend in Delaware it’s like being a kid again, at least when it comes to fishing. Children up to age 15 can fish without a license any time, but Saturday and Sunday, June 4 and 5, anyone can fish for free, the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control announced. Anglers age 16 and up still need to register for a free FIN number to participate, and it's possible they won't have the same level of unadulterated joy as child anglers either. Experiences vary by participant.

COVID vaccine boosters for kids

Beebe Medical Group is offering COVID-19 boosters for children ages 5-11 on Saturday, June 4, at the Primary Care Cape Henlopen office, the hospital system announced in a news release.

The CDC approved a booster dose for children aged 5-11 in May, and the booster dose should be administered five months after the initial two-dose series, Beebe said.

The shots, which use the Pfizer vaccine, are by appointment only, and you can register at tinyurl.com/fcsn2frn. Bring the child’s COVID-19 vaccination card, along with the guardian’s ID and insurance card.

Crash while passing results in charges

A Frederica man faces criminal charges after a head-on collision when he tried to pass multiple people on a two-way road, Delaware State Police said. A Lewes woman died from her injuries after the Sunday evening, May 29 crash.

Police said Dillon Satterfield, 26, was under the influence of alcohol when he crossed a double yellow line in an attempt to pass numerous vehicles on Bowers Beach Road between Little Heaven and Bowers. Satterfield, going west, met a compact SUV going east and they both swerved onto the shoulder and collided head on.

Police said Monday that a man and woman from Lewes, both 69, were in the SUV and were taken to the hospital with serious injuries. The man, who was the driver, remained in critical condition Monday; the woman was pronounced dead at the hospital.

Satterfield was flown by helicopter to the hospital and also was in critical condition Monday. When he gets out of the hospital, police said, he will face charges for second degree vehicular homicide, first degree vehicular assault, driving under the influence of alcohol, reckless driving and improper passing.  

Police did not have updates on the condition of Satterfield and the other driver on Thursday.

Correction on road deaths

The May 10 article about the high number of road fatalities in Delaware had a wrong total for road deaths last year, reflecting an outdated state web page. The number was actually slightly higher than reported, at 139 deaths for 2021.

As road deaths rise in Delaware, what can be done to save lives?
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Get paid to go to the fair

If you’re looking for a summer job, Delaware State Fair says it needs stage hands and employees to help with parking, security, maintenance, cleaning and more and more. Job fairs are scheduled for Saturday, June 11 and Tuesday, June 14. Find more information here.

Juneteenth celebration planned

Cornerstone Community Center and the Bridgeville Library will hold a Juneteenth celebration on Saturday, June 18 at 3 p.m. at the library.

Juneteenth, officially made a Delaware holiday in 2020, marks the date on June 19, 1865 when federal troops finally enforced the Emancipation Proclamation in Galveston, Texas. That was more than two months after Robert E. Lee’s surrender at Appomattox, and two years after the proclamation was signed.

Despite only being recognized as an official national and state holiday recently, Juneteenth has been celebrated since the 1800s.

The Bridgeville celebration will include music, dancing, vendors and food.

Extended road closure

Brownsville Road west of Harrington will close Monday at 7 a.m. for culvert replacement, a project that will take a couple months. The state is replacing steel culverts with concrete culverts on the stretch between Cornish Road and Fox Hunters Road. Work is slated to run through Aug. 10.

Reading party

The Bridgeville Library is holding a summer reading kickoff party, the Jumpin’ June Jamboree, Saturday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. There will be inflatables, crafts, a coloring contest, a juggler, music, a free gift for registration and a free hot dog lunch for each child. Admission is free.

Other events

Friday, June 3

  • Lake Forest School District graduation at 6 p.m.
  • Party Like It’s 793 Viking and heavy metal themed festival at Brimming Horn Meadery in Milton. Runs through Sunday. Pig roast, mead, vendors, Viking village and loud music.

Saturday, June 4

  • Georgetown Public Library summer reading kickoff at Sandhill Fields, 6 p.m. Live music, games, crafts, ice cream, a movie and more.
  • Greenwood Mennonite School Spring Festival, with food, entertainment, kid zone with petting zoo, and auction.
  • Andy and Opie Kids Fishing Tournament. Free registration begins at 8 a.m. in Milton Memorial park. Winners announced by 1 p.m. For up to age 17. Bait and lunch provided.

Tuesday, June 7

  • Destroy a computer keyboard for fun and education at Greenwood Library at 4:30 p.m. Also, make keyboard jewelry. Register here.

Friday, June 10

  • Woodbridge School District graduation at 6 p.m.

Tuesday, June 14

Thursday, June 23

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