NOTE: Sussex Beat is a mix of news, analysis and commentary by Eric Magill, publisher of Sussex County Online.
Photos: WGMD morning talk show host Dan Gaffney emerges (top) from the icy tomb he spent the weekend in (below) and celebrates his freedom with a Dogfish Head Pale Ale (middle).
Dan Gaffney, morning talk show host on WGMD-FM 92.7, emerged from his 48-hour deep freeze on Saturday, Nov. 6, 1999, a little stiff but coherent.
In a promotion to raise awareness and funding for the new child abuse prevention program at Beebe Medical Center in Lewes, Gaffney spent 48 hours, from 4 p.m. Thursday to 4 p.m. Saturday, entombed inside a 5,000-pound block of ice (picture below) in a refrigerator truck in the parking lot of Atlantic Cellular and Bill's Sport Shop on Route 1 between Lewes and Rehoboth Beach.
About 3:45 p.m. Saturday, workers began chipping away the top layer of ice to allow Gaffney to climb out to the cheers of approximately 100 onlookers.
Gaffney, who wore only a t-shirt with a long-sleeve denim shirt, shorts, and sneakers, said he felt fine and that he hoped the promotion would raise $6,000-$10,000 for the child abuse prevention program (the latest total is more than $12,000). He then had a celebratory mug of Dogfish Head Pale Ale and headed to Coco's Diner for a thawing out party.
Gaffney couldn't eat or use the bathroom during his stunt. To prepare, he fasted for a couple of days and underwent hypnosis. Monitors were attached to him to keep track of his vital signs and tubes to aid his breathing were inserted into the ice.
During his entombment, he was able to speak to WGMD radio personalities on air. Spectators could walk through the truck and see Gaffney inside the ice through a porthole.
More pictures of Gaffney are available at this web site.
Perdue Inc. officials tried to allay the concerns of a packed house regarding its plans for a chicken waste processsing plant between Blades and Laurel at a public hearing before the Sussex County Planning Commission on Thursday, Nov. 4, 1999.
An estimated 100 Sussex Countians filled Council Chambers to support and oppose the proposed plant that has received a $1 million incentive from Delaware Governor Thomas R. Carper.
County Council will eventually determine the plant's fate after the planning commission makes its recommendations on Perdue's application for a conditional use of the proposed site.
Officials for Perdue, which will own and operate the plant with AgriRecyle Inc., said the site between Blades and Laurel was chosen because of the concentration of chicken growers in the area and because of a nearby rail line that will allow the fertilizer pellets it makes from the chicken waste to be shipped to Midwestern farmers easily.
Opponents, however, say the site is unsuitable for the plant, saying it should go in an area that has already been industrialized. They also expressed concerns about traffic from the plant, noise and odor, and the fact that AgriRecycle has never actually operated such a plant.
In an attempt to douse concerns about the plant's environmental and aesthetic impact on the immediate area, Wayne Hudson, general manager of the Perdue-AgriRecyle operation, said there will be an automatic shutdown mechanism in place should any problems occur at the plant, and John Sergovic, a Perdue attorney, said motorists would not notice the plant due to vegetation buffers that would be planted around the site.
More than 170 poultry farms have agreed to supply waste to the $10 million, 63,000 square foot plant, which would dry and turn the waste into 80,000 tons of fertilizer pellets annually that would be sold to Midwestern farmers and internationally.
Supporters say the plant would economically dispose of chicken waste that has been long used on Sussex County farms as fertilizer but has been identified as a major source of pollution in Delaware waterways from farm runoff. They say the plan would save poultry farms across Delmarva and the 20,000 jobs the industry provides.
Opponents, though, are suspicious of the group after a memo attributed to Delmarva Poultry Industry Inc. president Kenneth Bounds surfaced, urging DPI members to arrive at the hearing early to crowd out opponents of the project. Bounds acknowledged that the memo came from a single individual from DPI offices but denied writing or authorizing it.
You can voice your opinion on Sussex County issues in the Sussex County Online Forum or cast your vote on various Sussex County issues on our online poll. Just follow the links below to make your voice heard and your vote count:
The Delaware Office of Planning Coordination web site at http://www.state.de.us/planning/ includes the controversial document, "Managing Growth in 21st Century Delaware: Strategies for State Policies and Spending", that has Sussex County officials up in arms. Also posted on the site are the Delaware Assistance Handbook for Local Governments and the LUPA Reviews Page detailing proposed land use changes under review under the Land Use Planning Act.
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