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Fall/Winter 2017

Newark Life


The Newark High School Marching Band plays on Page 66

Inside • Hitting the trail in Newark • Jungle John’s critter career • A theatrical legacy on Chapel Street Complimentary Copy


Newark Life | Fall/Winter 2017 |

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Fall/Winter 2017

Newark Life Table of Contents 8

Newark resident specializes in the social history of women


A lifetime of critters


Q & A with Dr. Lindsay Hoffman


A helping hand when it’s needed most


The Champion: Greg Pritchett of the MVJ Athletics Training Center


A Newark Natural: Sasha Aber of the Home Grown CafĂŠ


Photo Essay: This band plays on


Bravo! The Chapel Street Players


On the right path: Trail systems in Newark




24 58 Cover design by Tricia Hoadley Cover photograph by Jie Deng


Newark Life | Fall/Winter 2017 |

This band plays on



Letter from the Editor: The City of Newark is filled with wonderful people doing extraordinary things, and in this issue of Newark Life we shine a spotlight on just a few of them. Consider the work of Cassie O’Quinn and Carolanne Tims, a pair of Newark High School students. When the school’s former band director retired unexpectedly earlier this year, the marching band was left without a leader as the new school year approached. O’Quinn and Tims, two drum majors, took it upon themselves to schedule practices on hot summer days and to teach the basics of marching to the newest band members. In his photo essay, Richard Gaw offers the story of how this band played on during a time of uncertainty, and how the marching band is now shining under the Friday night lights under the leadership of new band director Mike Archer. We look at the work of Lori’s Hands, based at the STAR Campus at the University of Delaware, which links undergraduate students who want hands-on caregiving experience with people in the area who are living with a chronic illness. We also profile John LaMedica who, for generations of people in the tri-state area, has always been known as Jungle John. We discuss how, even today, at the age of 59, his enthusiasm for creatures that creep and slither can barely be contained. We talk to Dr. Lindsay Hoffman, who joined the faculty of the Department of Communication at the University of Delaware in September 2007 after receiving her Ph.D. from The Ohio State University. Her research examines how citizens use internet technology to become engaged with politics and their communities. She also studies individual and contextual effects of media on individuals’ perceptions of public opinion; the effects of viewing political satire on knowledge and participation; social capital and communication; and factors leading to public-affairs news use. In this issue, we also introduce readers to Linda Duffy, a Newark resident who specializes in the social history of women in mid-Victorian America. In the 15 years that Greg Pritchett has owned and operated MVJ Athletics Training Center in Newark, he has introduced hundreds of students to the science of discipline, but what he really provides is a unique gift of opportunity and inspiration. We talk to Pritchett about the training system, which incorporates boxing, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, kickboxing, and mixed martial arts. As always, we hope you enjoy the stories included in this issue of Newark Life, and we look forward to receiving your comments and suggestions for future stories. We’re already hard at work planning the next issue of Newark Life, which will arrive in the spring of 2018. Sincerely, Randy Lieberman, Publisher, 610-869-5553 Steve Hoffman, Editor, 610-869-5553, ext. 13 Cover design by Tricia Hoadley Cover photo by Richard L. Gaw In the photo: Tyson Booker of the Newark High School Marching Band | Fall/Winter 2017 | Newark Life


—————|Newark History|—————

All photos courtesy unless otherwise noted

The Godey’s Lady’s Books featured fashion plates colored by hand.

Photo by Steven Hoffman

Linda Duffy, a resident of Newark, has made history a lifelong pursuit, with a particular interest in the social history of women in mid-Victorian America.


Newark Life | Fall/Winter 2017 |

Newark resident specializes in the social history of women in mid-Victorian America By Steven Hoffman Staff Writer


inda Duffy remembers the day she became fascinated by history. She was 11 years old and tagged along with her father, George Russell, to a meeting of the 118th Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry, a group of Civil War re-enactors. The gathering was held in an impressive mansion on the Main Line. While the re-enactors held their discussions in another room, Duffy was left to browse in the mansion’s dark but expansive library. It was there that Duffy saw her first copy of a “Godey’s Lady’s Book.” Beginning in the 1830s, Philadelphia publishers Louis Antoine Godey and Charles Alexander printed the series of enormously popular monthly magazines for women. The magazines featured intricate illustrations, artistic fashion plates and articles offering advice on raising children, women’s health, current events, literature, and more. Continued on Page 10 | Fall/Winter 2017 | Newark Life


Linda Duffy Continued from Page 9

“Nothing went in those magazines that couldn’t be read to the entire family,” Duffy explained. “Godey was careful with that.” As she looked at the treasures that Godey’s Lady’s Books held in their pages, Duffy was captivated. She was set on the course of a lifelong pursuit of learning about and enjoying history—especially everyday life for people in the Civil War era. Today, more than 50 years later, the Newark resident is still enamored by history. She is a retired surgical technologist and cardiac sonographer, and she has often mixed her love of history with her work through the years. At one time, she owned an antique business. Later, in the early 1970s, she became an interpreter and curator at The Colonial Pennsylvania Plantation. She then Continued on Page 12

Linda Duffy’s handmade reproduction of Civil War era day dress on the porch of the Chalfonte Hotel, Cape May, 1990.


Newark Life | Fall/Winter 2017 |

Historical costuming Linda Duffy also has an interest in historical costuming that goes back decades. When she first started reenacting with her father in the 1960s, she made a dress of her own that was as historically accurate as possible for a child who was just 11 years old at the time. Her grandmother taught her how to sew while they were making that first dress. She wore it for the first time at a Battle of Gettysburg centennial event in 1963, which led her to make the next dress and then the next one. She has earned many awards for her historical costuming through the years.

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Linda Duffy Continued from Page 10

entered the medical field. It makes sense that a person interested in women’s history during the Civil War era would also be interested by a career in the medical field—many women played important roles in caring for injured soldiers during the Civil War. Aside from necessity, women didn’t work professionally but the carnage of war drew them into basic nursing care. There were role models like Dorothea Dix, who demonstrated that women could make a real difference on important issues. Dix was an American activist who served as the superintendent of Army nurses during the Civil War, and lobbied lawmakers to create regulated mental asylums in the U.S. Women like Dix inspired Duffy to learn about other women in history. But she also still cares deeply about and is fascinated by the everyday life of ordinary women. She has a nice collection of Godey’s Lady’s Books in her Newark home that are filled with interesting information. During the time that the magazines were published in the 19th Century, they were periodically collected and bound as books. They offered an expanded look at life for many women of that time. “I got more interested in what the women wore and what they Continued on Page 14


Newark Life | Fall/Winter 2017 | | Fall/Winter 2017 | Newark Life


Linda Duffy Continued from Page 12

did at that time,” Duffy explained, reflecting about when she was first discovered Godey’s magazines and books. Since that time, she has been slowly building a collection of historical artifacts. She preserves a large collection of women’s clothing and accessories from the early-1800s to the present, with an emphasis on the mid-19th Century. She has also accumulated thousands of photographs and a variety of period literature published for women. Duffy has also immersed herself in history in many ways. She is a long-term member and participant in Colonial, Civil War and living history events with several regional

Above: The top of a slipper compared to a picture of one that was featured in a magazine in the 1860s. Right: Books and magazines with images from the time period served as models for people to copy the craftsmanship.

Continued on Page 16


Newark Life | Fall/Winter 2017 |

Linda Duffy Continued from Page 14

groups. She was a charter member and former vice president of the Cape May County Civil War Roundtable, and is a member of the 26th Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry reenacting group. She has studied widely the lives of mid19th Century women--everything from fashion and beauty to health and education--focusing on the everyday lives of typical women, including their roles in their families and in society. The favorite piece in her collection is a petticoat that was made by a slave seamstress. A note pinned to the garment explained its story. It was shipped on one of the last vessels to sail from the Charleston Harbor before the Union Naval blockade during the Civil War. The girl that it belonged to was to be married to a cadet at West Point, but the wedding never took place and the trunk never was returned to her. For Duffy, finding items like that and having the opportunity to preserve and protect them is part of what she loves about history. How does she find the items in her collection? She Continued on Page 18

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Linda Duffy Continued from Page 16

occasionally buys items from specialized auctions. However, these days she concentrates on the preservation of her collection. But anywhere that Duffy finds herself, she’s on the lookout for interesting items with a history. “You just keep looking,” she smiled. Now retired, she has more time to devote to her study of history. She is a board member of the Pencader Heritage Museum in Newark, and also serves as the museum’s curator.

Through the years, Duffy has displayed her collection at colleges, libraries, conferences, seminars and in museums. She has also won several awards for faithfully reproducing women’s clothing from the Civil War era. Duffy is particularly proud of a display she organized for the former Civil War Library and Museum in Philadelphia in the early 1990s. She and a friend, Juanita Leisch-Jensen, organized



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an exhibit, “The Look of the Ladies,” which concentrated on women’s clothing of the 1860s. Duffy is also fond of her 2006 exhibition, “Off the Pages of Godey’s,” regarding the influence of the popular magazines for the Fort Ward Museum & Historic Site in Alexandria, Va. According to Duffy, one of the best aspects of her interest in history is all the wonderful people

Duffy has an extensive collection of pictures from the Civil War era and later.

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Linda Duffy Continued from Page 19

that she’s met as a result. “I have made so many nice friends from all of this,� she explained. Research has been an important to her interest in history. She has extensively researched the Cooper Shop Volunteer Refreshment Saloon that was located near the Delaware River in Philadelphia. It started out as just a place where women volunteers fed Civil War soldiers. That expanded to include a hospital on the second floor. Nearly 400,000 soldiers received meals between May, 1861 to August, 1865. Eventually, they opened a soldiers’ home which became a refuge for discharged soldiers who couldn’t make it back to their own homes. Duffy has compiled biographies for 94 volunteer soldiers who passed away while receiving care and were buried at the nearby Mount Moriah Cemetery. Her research and original materials related to the Cooper Shop will eventually go to The Heritage Center of the Union League in Philadelphia. As a result of her research and the collecting of historical items, Duffy is a purist when it comes to how history is portrayed on television and in the movies. She appreciates accuracy—and abhors a lack of it. There’s a tendency in Hollywood to make the clothes romantic and the people attractive by today’s standards. They also have a tendency to over-dramatize actual events—which were often dramatic enough to begin with.

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“It’s just wrong,” Duffy said. “Even if it’s fiction, it gives people the wrong idea of what women looked like and what they did. It should be right. If young people are going to have an idea of what came before, you have to get it right.” If you search online for “Women in the Civil War,” you’ll find numerous stories about women serving as spies during the war or women disguised as men so they could fight. While there were certainly women who followed those paths, it was not typical for women to do either. “They were not the average women of that time,” Duffy explained. “They represented such a small number.” Between 400-700 women reportedly dressed like men to fight during the entire Civil War. That’s a fraction compared to the nearly three million men who fought. The impact that they would have had was minimal. Female soldiers and spies often overshadow the thousands of women who supported the military while working within the boundaries set by society in the mid-1860s. Continued on Page 22

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Linda Duffy Continued from Page 21

Duffy is far more interested in what the common women of the time would have done to help the war effort. When the men went to war, women ran farms and took over family businesses. They found ways to combine housekeeping, raising children and caring for sick or elderly relatives while volunteering to provide aid and comfort to the soldiers. “The average woman in Newark or Philadelphia or in the Midwest not only supported the war, they suffered because of it,” Duffy explained. “Women’s lives changed forever with the loss of a husband or father. They made difficult decisions regarding their family’s future in a time when few options were open to women.” She added, “women were admired for what they did in their homes.” When they left to nurse sick, wounded and dying men in hospitals they chanced losing respectability. But, they served in significant numbers and their hospital work eventually made a difference. The presence of females in the medical profession was gradually excepted and their war work became the springboard for professional nurses’ training in this country. It’s those women that Duffy likes to study as she’s doing her research or collecting items from the period. Duffy advocates authenticity because, like the favorite petticoat, each piece has a story to tell. “With all of these things, someone sat down and made them,” Duffy said. “I don’t want a garment that wasn’t worn. They should show the life that was lived in them.” To contact Staff Writer Steven Hoffman, email editor@ 22

Newark Life | Fall/Winter 2017 | | Fall/Winter 2017 | Newark Life


—————|Newark People|—————

A lifetime of critters

Jungle John started working with animals in 1988, and he’s still going strong By John Chambless Staff Writer


ohn LaMedica could hardly have avoided devoting his life to animals and insects. As a boy in the 1960s, he loved trips to the Bronx Zoo, which conveniently had a pet shop right across from the entrance. He was thrilled by visits to the Central Park Zoo and the Museum of Natural History. When his family moved to New Jersey a few years later, “I found out you could go into the woods behind my house and catch your own frogs,” he said, grinning. “That’s how it really got started.”


Newark Life | Fall/Winter 2017 |

Photo by John Chambless

Jungle John at home in Newark with the latest Larry Boa.

For generations of people in the tri-state area, he has always been Jungle John. Even today, at 59, his enthusiasm for creatures that creep and slither can barely be contained. During an interview at his Newark home, on a rare day off from putting on a pith helmet and handling snakes, LaMedica explained how his unconventional career came to be. He was a biology major at the University of Delaware when he discovered that Santa Fe Community College in Gainesville, Fla., offered a degree in zookeeping. Two years later, he graduated from the school. He heard about an opening for a supervisor at the small Brandywine Zoo in Wilmington, Del., and landed the job. He was there just over six years, getting experience in the business of running a zoo. As part of the zoo’s outreach, it provided a traveling show that went to local schools and events. “Mark Thurston, who did some of the shows, took me to Sanford Library,” LaMedica said. “We had five or six animals. I

watched him do the show and he said, ‘Now you’re on your own.’ There was no script, no guidelines. Nothing. I winged it. I knew about the animals, so I would try things out. For my job evaluation that year, the comments said, ‘Schools keep calling and asking for you.’ They liked me. Nobody else was doing things like this, so I had nobody to learn from.” In 1988, he left the zoo to pursue his dream of being Jungle John full time. And he’s been doing it ever since. “My wife, Susan, has always supported me,” he said. “When I started this, she said, ‘Yes, go ahead. Quit the zoo.’ She had faith in me.” Of course, to do a show about reptiles and insects, he needed his own alligator. “I called the Fish and Game Department in Florida, filled out the paperwork and purchased one from one of the Florida gator farms,” he recalled. “They shipped me a three-foot-long alligator. My nephew, who was 5 years old at the time, went with me to Continued on Page 26 | Fall/Winter 2017 | Newark Life


Critters Continued from Page 25

pick it up at the airport. It was a big crate. We opened it up in the back of the car. The mouth was taped shut, but we had no way to close the crate again. We drove back with it in the car. So we had our first alligator.” That first Wally Gator, as the alligator has been known ever since, was replaced when he got too big. The same goes for Larry Boa, a boa constrictor that’s a staple of Jungle John’s animal show. At about 10 feet long, the boa is impressive, but docile, content to spend his time in his traveling quarters of a plastic storage tote. To keep Larry and his other creatures fed, LaMedica has frozen rats delivered to his home from a company called Rodent Pro. “When it comes to the snakes, people usually gave them to me,” he said. “One time, I got a call from a guy in Wilmington who had a Burmese python, about a 15-footer, very tame. I found out that his girlfriend had used it as part of her employment. She was dancer,” LaMedica said, laughing. “I said, ‘Oh, so the snake has already been in show business.’” LaMedica takes the one-hour Jungle John show to festivals, birthday parties, camps, schools and special events whenever he’s asked, and he has logged countless miles over the years. When he’s appearing in front of younger audiences, the squeal of excitement when he takes Larry or Wally out of their crates is a rush of excitement. “The first thing they ask is, ‘Is that real?’” LaMedica said. “Mostly, they’re just speechless. I tell them, ‘Yes, all the animals are real.’”

Jungle John with the friendly dinosaur puppet that has added a new dimension to his repertoire.

There’s a lot of showmanship and humor in a Jungle John show, which can be tailored to groups of four or five, to a gym full of 1,000 kids, or at fairs across the region. At every show, “I make sure to give facts Continued on Page 28


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Critters Continued from Page 26

about the animals,” LaMedica said, adjusting the level of detail for each crowd. He makes sure to caution young audiences not to go out and pick up every snake they see, for instance, but mostly what he finds is that children are totally unfamiliar with seeing reptiles and amphibians in real life. “As kids, we had to create our own fun, and go out and play,” he said. “I was always in the woods finding snakes, turning over rocks, walking through the creek. Luckily, I’ve never come across a copperhead or lived

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Putting a cockroach in his mouth is a highlight of the show.

One of the Madagascar Hissing Cockroaches. ‘It’s the bug that made me famous,’ according to Jungle John.

in Texas, where they have a lot of rattlesnakes.” Bugs are another highlight of any Jungle John show, and he calls the Madagascar hissing cockroaches “The bug that made me famous.” He brought out several of the brownish black insects, which are several inches long and emit a hiss as a warning. They are harmless but impressive, particularly for anyone squeamish about insects. And they have been great for LaMedica’s career. “In my show, I put one of the cockroaches in my mouth. It gets a big round of applause. Some moms leave the room,” he said. LaMedica and cockroaches go way back. “In 1999, the boxer Dave Tiberi had a cable TV talk show,” he recalled. “I was on it to talk about animals. That fall, the Guinness Book of World Records people had a TV show. Dave and I were talking about that. When I finished doing the show, he said, ‘You need national exposure.’ I said as a joke, ‘I could cover my whole body with cockroaches.’ I went home and found their phone number. A few days later, they called back. They Continued on Page 30 | Fall/Winter 2017 | Newark Life


Critters Continued from Page 28

wanted a video, so we did a video where I put 1,000 roaches on me. We sent it to them. Six months later, we were out in L.A., producing it. My record is for Most Number of Cockroaches in a Coffin with a Live Person. The record is 20,050. Each one was counted, too. If you go online now and Google ‘cockroach coffin world record,’ there’s the clip.” LaMedica did the show a second time, when he put cockroaches in his mouth. He won the record for Most Live Cockroaches Held in a Person’s Mouth for 10 Seconds or More. At the time, the rival organization Ripley’s Believe it or Not had a syndicated TV show, so they invited LaMedica to New York City to do the coffin stunt. Instead, he ended up putting roaches in his mouth for them.

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One of a long line of Wally Gators gets into the act.

“America’s Got Talent” came calling four years ago, perhaps after producers saw LaMedica on the Guinness show. “I got a phone message from them after I got back one night. They wanted me to go to L.A. to put cockroaches in my mouth,” he said. “I never thought they’d call me for anything. So my wife is texting my son, who’s on tour with ‘War Horse,’ the Broadway play. Nick’s texting back during intermission. He said he’d go out with me to do the show.” Knowing full well that he was being asked to audition as a gross-out novelty, LaMedica decided to go for it. Four years ago, on Easter Sunday, he flew to L.A. and filmed his audition in front of the panel of judges in Los Angeles. “I was backstage, getting ready to go on, and the sound guy comes over and says, ‘Wait a minute. You look familiar. Ocean City, N.J., New Year’s Eve, in the library. We saw you three years in a row!’,” LaMedica said, laughing. 30

Newark Life | Fall/Winter 2017 |

‘America’s Got Talent’ found the cockroach-in-the-mouth bit too shocking.

“Anyway, I put 10 cockroaches in my mouth. Howard Stern gave us an X. Everybody was grossed out. Howard said to Nick, ‘Is that your dad? Blink twice if he’s holding you captive.’” While he didn’t go through to the next round, LaMedica got national exposure on a top TV show, adding to his Guinness and Ripley’s appearances. “Come on! Not bad for a Delaware boy,” he said, smiling. With a full slate of bookings, particularly during the school year, as Jungle John, LaMedica has branched out to offer “Jungle John’s Man-Eating Balloon Show,” in which he creates a wide range of objects out of balloons and then caps the act by stepping into one up to his neck. He has shows tailored to Halloween safety, and a new “Winter Wonderland Show” with magic tricks, balloons and Frostbite the Snowman puppet. He works with three puppeteers and fellow performers when necessary. Learning balloon sculpting, LaMedica said, came about because he often shared performances with magic acts or clowns and wanted to pick up some new tricks. He brings the balloons and banter to Kid Shelleen’s in Wilmington on Monday nights, and to Klondike Kate’s in Newark on Wednesday nights. Tableside, he can whip up swords and flowers for youngsters, or play off college students who are out for an evening of fun. And then there’s the dinosaurs. Two years ago, well aware of children’s fascination with prehistoric critters, LaMedica saw a whole-body costume that turned an upright person into a walking dinosaur. It wasn’t cheap, so he consulted his son and wife about adding the puppet to his act. He got the 65-pound costume delivered in October 2015, but had already booked shows using it, “so I had to write the show quickly,” he said. Along with other dinosaur puppets -- including Montana, a duck-billed dino that charms audiences from a sling under his arm -- the new dinosaur show has his trademark humor and razzle-dazzle. “There’s a hatching egg puppet, a pterodactyl that perches on my arm, a velociraptor, and the finale is the Continued on Page 32 | Fall/Winter 2017 | Newark Life


Critters Continued from Page 31

big dinosaur,” LaMedica said. “Kids can become an actor, he would have been a come up and examine the T. Rex. We have zookeeper.” a giant toothbrush, a giant thermometer, a To cap off the balloon show, And LaMedica is getting his next generaworking stethoscope – my puppeteers know Jungle John climbs inside a huge tion of customers. “I will have a mom call exactly when to tap inside the costume as a balloon. me for a booking for her child’s birthday heartbeat – then they can feed her a a rubparty and she’ll say, ‘Well, when I was 8, ber chicken.” you did my birthday party. As a capper to the act, the pterodactyl sneezes water out “I’ve been very lucky to do something that I don’t conof its nose and sprays the front row of kids with “pterodac- sider work,” he said. “I took a hobby as a kid and made it a tyl snot,” guaranteeing giggles. profession. I could work seven days a week. I’m constantly “We have education, comedy, lots of audience partici- writing notes about the act, and I have to force myself to pation, great puppetry, all in one show,” LaMedica said. take a day off. That’s what happens when you love your “No kid wants a college lecture on dinosaurs. They need job. When I’m 80, I want to get a world record for Most excitement.” Amount of Paying Birthday Parties for Someone 80 or After doing countless shows virtually everywhere in Older in One Year,” he said, grinning. “I might have to the region, LaMedica is easily recognized – especially create my own category.” when he’s wearing his pith helmet. And occasionally, For more information, and a list of upcoming shows, visit “I’ll meet someone – mostly boys – who have grown up to be zookeepers because of me,” he said, beaming. “I To contact Staff Writer John Chambless, email jchambhave inspired some people. My son says that if he hadn’t


Newark Life | Fall/Winter 2017 |

—————|Newark Q&A|—————

Q A &

Dr. Lindsay Hoffman is an Associate Professor in the Department of Communications at the University of Delaware.

Dr. Lindsay Hoffman Associate Professor, Department of Communication, Associate Director of the Center for Political Communication and Director of the annual National Agenda Speaker Series at the University of Delaware


Newark Life | Fall/Winter 2017 |

All photos courtesy of the University of Delaware

For the past three years, Dr. Hoffman has been the Director of the annual National Agenda Speaker Series at the University of Delaware.


ince joining the faculty of the Department of Communication at the University of Delaware in September 2007, Dr. Lindsay Hoffman has studied the impact of internet technology and how individual and contextual effects of media influence our opinions. Grounded in political communication, mass communication and public opinion, Dr. Hoffman’s work parallels the rise of social media over the last decade, and as the Director of the annual National Agenda Speaker Series at UD, she has spoken with experts from around the nation, and helped turn the hotbutton topics that dominate our social media into civic dialogue and conversation. Recently, Newark Life spoke with Dr. Hoffman to get her take on our changing perceptions of media, how social media can divide us but also bring us together, and the importance of occasionally turning off the white noise of opinion and commentary.

Newark Life: The University of Delaware’s Center for Political Communication is currently hosting its seventh annual National Agenda Speaker Series this fall, and you’ve been its director for the past three years. Talk about some of the themes that drive the narrative of the series, and this year’s theme, “As We Stand, Divided.” Hoffman: This series is intended to be a semester-long dialogue centered around a particular theme. During election years, we’ve focused on the most recent election, allowing students and the UD community to get a better understanding of things like media coverage of elections, polling and campaign strategy. During off-election years, we’ve chosen themes that resonate with issues on the national agenda. I cover the news as part of my research, so I’m attuned to what people want to talk about. Continued on Page 36 | Fall/Winter 2017 | Newark Life


Dr. Lindsay Hoffman Continued from Page 35

One particular theme focused on Race in America, so we were able to have a discussion with a former police officer, an African-American who left the force to become an advocate for men in prison. We also invited a “Black Lives Matter” activist, and a cartoonist. This year’s theme, “As We Stand Divided,” is about the divide that currently faces the nation. At our most recent discussion, we invited Appalachian author David Joy, and we engaged in dialogue about perceptions and misperceptions of people in different areas of that part of the country, and how Trump’s message resonated with people in the Appalachian region. The purpose of this series is to create a physical space for civil dialogue. It allows us to bring someone with a different perspective and allow him or her to share that perspective, and to encourage empathy and listening and other skills that I think we all need more of.

As We Stand, Divided The 7th annual National Agenda Speaker Series at the University of Delaware is exploring the divides that exist in the United States, including gender, geographic, religious, partisan, and cultural. Six public events held at the Mitchell Hall Auditorium feature top speakers from across the country who address these important issues and how Americans communicate about them in today’s political landscape. This year’s theme, “As We Stand, United,” continues on Oct. 18 with an appearance by Joe Biden, former Vice President of the United States, who will deliver an address entitled, “Bridging the Divides,” beginning at 12:00 p.m. On Nov. 1, former Delaware Governor and Congressman Mike Castle will join David Bonior, former long-time Congressman from Michigan, to address “Political Divides: Past and Present,” beginning at 7:30 p.m. The series will conclude on Nov. 15 with an address by comedian Chris Garcia, who will speak about cultural divides, beginning at 7:30 p.m. While the class also fulfills a component for the Political Communication minor, the evening lecture series is free and open to the community. To learn more about the series, visit the University of Delaware Center for Political Communication’s website,


Newark Life | Fall/Winter 2017 |

More and more, we are living in two vastly different Americas, where the tonality of our conversation is not being delivered as a whole, but separately. In large part, social media is the driver of that divide. Who is telling the truth in all of this? How much does are our modern media technology help -- or hinder -- our pursuit of finding objective and accurate information? The question is a good one, and that’s what my research aims to do: Can media, in particular new technology, drive people to engage with communities, or drive them away? I don’t think it’s a question that can be fully answered yet, because the media environment is changing so drastically on a day-to-day basis. Right now, we’re in a bad place. People don’t trust journalists. The President is calling the mainstream media “Fake News.” That’s dangerous, because you have to get your information from somewhere, so if you’re calling the news fake, then people will get their news from elsewhere, and there’s a whole dark internet that a lot of people don’t know about that provides a very different narrative. There is a study that showed that even if a news article is neutral in perspective, if the readers’ comments at the end of the article feature uncivil commentary, then people respond differently and more unfavorably. What I’m trying to do is demonstrate that we can have dialogue that doesn’t have its basis in name calling. You have to be able to talk to people, even if they’re on the other side. Life isn’t a split-screen cable news punditry program. Are we at a time where the process of sharing information is intended more to provoke than to inform, and if so, how do we dig ourselves out of it? I don’t think that we’re necessarily in a new quagmire. We’re repeating the periods of our past with new tools at our disposal. When we saw the “Black Lives Matter” movement emerge a few years ago, it mirrored what happened in the early part of the last century, which was mirrored by what happened in the Civil Rights Movement. It’s important not to single out this era from the standpoint of, ‘We’ve never seen anything like this before.’ The truth is that we have, but it hasn’t been with the kinds of access that we have to each other now. In many positive ways, however, we’re also seeing movements connect who may have never connected with each other before, through social media.

Now in its seventh year, the series unites speakers and experts who engage in civil dialogue about national issues like race relations and the impact of social media.

You gave an address at a TEDx Wilmington conference last August entitled, “Reimagining Citizenship: A New Algorithm for Civic Life,” where you said that you’re seeing possible solutions to the divide come in the form of a new narrative -- a new way of communicating -between people. At that talk, I wanted to get people to think about, ‘We’re in the 21st Century. How do we plan to effectively communicate with other people?’ In the National Agenda series, I encourage the audience to listen to a variety of voices, and follow news media from other countries to gain new perspective, as a means of diversifying our portfolio of media resources. I offer ideas on how to have civil conversations, and not to go into a conversation trying to persuade someone. Rather, I encourage them to go into a conversation with curiosity and empathy. You may end up changing that other person’s beliefs, but it’s not going to happen if you go into it with your fists ready. It’s as simple as working with each other and seeing our shared humanity. If we don’t do that, we just become objects to each other. At the conclusion of my talk, I said that sometimes, you need to get away. We’re social creatures, and we want to engage with other people, so I told them to ‘Put it down and turn it off.’

I am an optimist in my belief that we can do this, but we have to get out of this mindset that proclaims that we are at war with each other. If we set aside our differences and concerns and fears we have now, we can look at that person who is sitting across the table from us who is not a supporter of our candidate, and talk to that person as a human being. Then we can begin to make positive changes. We’re all seeking truth. We need to realize that we’re all looking for the same thing -- to understand what we’re doing here and how we got here. How are you seeing this manifested in your students and in your classroom? The thread running through all I do is to demonstrate how we can communicate more effectively with each other. I think and I hope that it will make an impact on these students. They’re a larger voting bloc than the Baby Boomers are right now. I want to send my students out into the world prepared to run for office, to be volunteers in their communities. I want to inspire them and give them the efficacy and the courage and the confidence to go out and achieve, and from what I’m seeing, they’re going to do it. I am very confident in these young people. -- Richard L. Gaw | Fall/Winter 2017 | Newark Life


—————|Newark People|—————

A helping hand when it’s needed most Lori’s Hands connects students and those living with chronic illness By John Chambless Staff Writer


Courtesy photo

Sarah LaFave (left) formed Lori’s Hands in honor of her mother. At right is Maggie Ratnayake.


Newark Life | Fall/Winter 2017 |

arah LaFave’s mother, Lori, was a generous person who helped others, and that spirit of giving continues in a nonprofit founded in her name. Lori’s Hands, based at the STAR Campus at the University of Delaware, links undergraduate students who want hands-on caregiving experience with people in the area who are living with a chronic illness. It’s an ideal partnership that has dividends for both the students and the people who need help with daily chores, or just a little companionship. “I spent a lot of time with my mom and was very close to her when I was growing up,” LaFave said during an interview last month. “I think that’s partially due to her being diagnosed with breast cancer when I was in first grade. After her initial course of treatment, my mom went into remission for several years, but her cancer returned in 2000 and she then lived with the disease until she died in 2003 when I was a freshman in high school.” Lori’s gift for caring for others made an impression on Sarah. “One of the things I respected most about her was that she always

Sometimes, the visitors from Lori’s Hands may be the only contact a home-bound person has during the day.

seemed to know just the right thing to do to brighten someone’s day or make someone’s challenges a little easier. She often helped in really practical, tangible ways and she preferred not to receive a lot of recognition for her generosity. She just kind of went behind the scenes and did little things that often made a huge difference.” Those little things are now at the heart of Lori’s Hands, which sends University of Delaware students to the homes of people who may need yard work, a little housecleaning, cooking, grocery shopping, dog walking, paperwork or internet help, or just need a friendly person to talk to. While students do not provide personal or medical care, they do form deep bonds with the people they serve, and often maintain contact after they graduate. “I grew up in a small, very supportive community where I knew the names of all of the students and teachers in my high school, many of whom I’d known since I was in kindergarten,” LaFave said. “In 2007, I started college at the University of Delaware. That was a really exciting and fun transition, but one of the sad parts of it was realizing that Continued on Page 40

Photo by John Chambless

This year, Lori’s Hands marked its eighth year of service by hiring its first full-time employee, Maggie Ratnayake, as director of programs.

Lori’s Hands students provide companionship and help for those facing a long-term illness. | Fall/Winter 2017 | Newark Life


Lori’s Hands Continued from Page 39

all of the new people I was meeting would never know my mom, or be part of the life that my family had when she was in it. I hated that people I’d meet throughout the rest of my life might only know that my mom had died, but not really know much about how she had lived her life. “That was part of the inspiration for naming Lori’s Hands after my mom when the organization was founded,” she continued. “It gave me an outlet for talking about my mom’s life, her personality, and her giving spirit, rather than just the fact that she is no longer here.” LaFave studied to become a nurse, but found that opportunities for interacting with patients were somewhat limited until the later undergraduate years. “My nursing classmates and I were hungry for service opportunities that would allow us to interact with people like the patients we were studying to care for,” she said. “When we were sophomores in 2009, we started Lori’s Hands as a way to start working with individuals living with chronic illness, before we had the clinical skills or education to provide care for them in a medical setting. “We decided to offer in-home support with non-medical care -- the types of things that I knew first-hand could become very challenging for


Newark Life | Fall/Winter 2017 |

Christine helps with meal preparation.

families faced with a chronic illness. When my mom was sick, I was struck by the fact that the world keeps turning, even in the face of a health crisis. Your house still needs to be cleaned, groceries still need to be bought, and the lawn doesn’t compassionately start to mow itself. “We thought that college students and community members diagnosed with chronic illness could be a perfect pairing,” LaFave said. “We students wanted to learn as much as we could about healthcare and the patient experience, and these community members had needs that we could help address.” This year, Lori’s Hands marked its eighth year of service by hiring its first full-time employee, Maggie Ratnayake, as director of programs. A professional mental health counselor who specializes in art therapy, Ratnayake worked with LaFave previously and the two remained friends. “My parents are true examples of social servants,” Ratnayake said during an interview at the STAR Campus. “They’re incredible people. Even though they both had very busy jobs, they were taking care of everyone around them in their community, which they continue to do today. The small town in upstate New York where I grew

up is really the definition of a community caring for each other. That’s the environment I grew up in. I still want to be engaged in that. That’s what Lori’s Hands does.” Ratnayake was drawn to Lori’s Hands because the organization does so much for its clients. “Our program is free,” she said. “There’s no charge to our clients. We see their ‘payment,’ if you will, as their willingness to talk to the students about their experiences. So our students are gaining valuable insight into the experience of living with chronic conditions. To hire a regular caregiver to go grocery shopping for you, or to do housekeeping, it’s $20 to $25 an hour. Our students typically spend an hour or two each week with our clients.” The program currently has 55 clients in the Newark area. Two volunteers are teamed up with each client. “Some of them are nursing students, and some are physical therapy or nutrition students,” Ratnayake said. “We even have economics and accounting majors who are just interested in giving back to the community. If the student is an engineering major, for instance, we hope their volunteer experience would provide insight into the importance of universal design and building ramps. We see opportunities Continued on Page 42

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Lori’s Hands Continued from Page 41

for students of all disciplines to learn a lot.” Anyone over 18 who has a long-term illness or disability is eligible to request help from Lori’s Hands. “Many of our clients do have other caregivers, whether it’s a parent, a spouse, a child. But many of our clients are completely on their own, so our volunteers going to visit them might be the only companionship they get for a couple days,” Ratnayake said. There are many benefits for students who take part, she said. “We’ve been surveying some of our alumni and many of them said that Lori’s Hands is one of the defining experiences of their college career, in terms of shaping their future profession and just helping them appreciate the community around them. “We are planning to expand our services here in Newark, as well as to other colleges and universities locally,” Ratnayake said. “So if someone’s in a location outside of Newark, we don’t have to say they can’t join Lori’s Hands. They could join a branch or chapter that’s local to them. That’s one of my goals over the next couple of years. “The first six months I’ve gotten my feet under me,” she said, smiling. “We are planning to expand our services

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Newark Life | Fall/Winter 2017 |

Help with paperwork is one service volunteers provide.

Student Alyssa with Edna in her Newark home.

here in Newark, reaching more clients and involving more students. We see the potential for growth because of the need, both from our clients and our students. If I ask our clients why they stay involved in Lori’s Hands, over and over again, they say it’s the relationships that are meaningful to them. It’s a breath of fresh air, a ray of sunshine, every week.” For LaFave, the act of connecting students and the chronically ill just made sense. “Especially when we were first getting started, we spent a lot of time researching other service learning organizations,” she said. “There are lots of amazing organizations that do service learning work in other areas, such as Engineers Without Borders, whose college student volunteers provide capacity-building support to communities while gaining hands-on experience that helps the students to become better equipped for their future professions. That service learning philosophy guides the work that we do through Lori’s Hands. We don’t know of any other organization that is doing the exact work that we do.” Hiring Ratnayake was a milestone for the organization, LaFave said. “Before her hire, our impact was limited by what our all-volunteer board and student leaders could handle administratively. We always have had lots of interest from both students and community members who want to join Lori’s Hands, but we didn’t always have the capacity to make matches as quickly as they would come in, or to fully support the number of students and community members who wanted to be involved. Continued on Page 44 | Fall/Winter 2017 | Newark Life


Lori’s Hands Continued from Page 43

Through the generosity of individual donors and corporate and foundation partners, we raised the funds to hire Maggie, and as a result, we’ve already grown our capacity tremendously.” Looking ahead, LaFave said, “we want to continue building capacity, continue building partnerships in the community so that we can grow the program here in Newark, and dive head-first into fundraising so that we can responsibly expand to other communities. Our model is incredibly cost-effective because our student volunteers do so much of the important work. We have lots of opportunities for community members to get involved with our work -- from participating in guest bartending events, to hosting fundraising parties at their homes, to forming teams to run 5Ks while raising awareness for Lori’s Hands. “I hope, and believe it’s feasible, that Lori’s Hands will someday be a trusted community partner throughout the country,” LaFave said. “Our country’s population is aging and the prevalence of chronic disease is, unfortunately, rising. In the future, I think we will only have a greater need for organizations like Lori’s Hands.” For more information, visit or call 302-440-5454. To contact Staff Writer John Chambless, email


Newark Life | Fall/Winter 2017 |

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The Champion

In the 15 years that Greg Pritchett has operated MVJ Athletics Training Center, he has introduced hundreds of students to the science of discipline, but what he really provides is a gift of inspiration By Richard L. Gaw Staff Writer


All photos by Richard L. Gaw

Greg Pritchett, owner of MVJ Athletic Training Center in Newark, speaks to young students at his beginning kickboxing class.


Newark Life | Fall/Winter 2017 |

here was a time in his younger life when Greg Pritchett was troubled. His mother believed in tough love at the same time the teenager seemed to reject all notions of love. He was cursed with an inability to translate rage into a plea for help. He saw too much fighting. He heard too many loud voices. He loved his stepfather but saw him tumble down into a world of addiction and bad habits. A family fight and being reprimanded by his stepfather left him feeling marginalized from his siblings. He began to suffer from depression, coupled with his invented belief that he would not live to see his 21st birthday. When he turned 21, he broke down in tears, more out of shock than relief. During these years, Pritchett was taken in for a short time by a man named Wardell Harmon in New Castle, who became the start of Pritchett’s journey through a quagmire of predicaments and incidents. Harmon, whom Pritchett called Pop, helped guide the young man, and when Pritchett eventually landed on his feet with a new job and a place to raise his young Continued on Page 48

Martial arts student and fighter Jason Stephens.

Several athletes who have trained at MVJ Athletics Training Center have gone on to professional careers in boxing and martial arts.

Key benefits of martial arts training: • • • • •

Increased amount of agility Improved balance and coordination Increased flexibility and mobility Improved muscle strength Better cardiovascular fitness, which helps overall health and well-being

• Better posture • Increased self-confidence, self-esteem and assertiveness • Sharpened ability to communicate clearly and directly • More focus and effectiveness at work/in daily life

Courses are taught in boxing, kickboxing and other forms of martial arts.

Shannon McCall and Sophia Clarke are friends in a beginner kickboxing class. | Fall/Winter 2017 | Newark Life


MJV Athletics Training Center Continued from Page 46

family, he asked Harmon, “How can I possibly repay you for what you have done for me?” “Do what I have done for you for someone else,” Harmon told Pritchett. Pritchett, sitting in the waiting room of MVJ Athletics Training Center, which he has owned and operated for the past 15 years, and where he has helped train and guide hundreds of young athletes to gain discipline and direction, said, “So that’s what I do now.” * The doors of MVJ Athletics Training Center, tucked deep within the Delaware Industrial Park, welcome children and adults six days a week for a full plate of instruction in Modern Vee-Jitsu Athletics, an integrated training system designed for athletes. The system, which includes instruction in boxing, kickboxing and mixed martial arts, combines the discipline of the martial arts and the explosive methods of plyometrics training, which develops focus, coordination, power, speed and agility. Its intentions are to develop both the internal and external components of the athlete: The external component conditions the

Children’s classes teach discipline, balance and self-esteem.

body, inward body functions (such as breathing), intuitive response, concentration and strength of will. Children’s classes at MVJ Athletics Training Center are intended to help kids develop selfconfidence, discipline, and greater self-esteem, which translates into the classroom and the home. Continued on Page 50


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MJV Athletics Training Center Continued from Page 48

The road that led Pritchett to becoming the owner of MVJ Athletics Training Center was a winding one, and not without roadblocks. When he was growing up in Wilmington, his Uncle Bayard “Skeeter” Christie, a fourth-degree blackbelt fighter, introduced him to martial arts; in particular, Shotokan Karate. “I was an angry person when I was growing up, and martial arts gave me the balance that I desperately needed,” he said. “I see that same anger, that same lack of balance, in a lot of students, and it’s my role to address that. Someone once told me, ‘If you train in a violent activity, you will learn to become less violent, because you will develop more confidence and willingness to control yourself, than to see where that violence can lead to.’” After the birth of his second child, Pritchett was desperate to find a way to balance family, work, and martial arts training and education. Living in North Philadelphia, he took a job as a groundskeeper at a Pep Boys in the city, was eventually transferred to the store’s Prices Corner location, and moved his family to Delaware. After being laid off from work later as an electrician’s apprentice, Pritchett began teaching at a martial arts studio in Peddler’s Village, first as an instructor and later as head instructor. After a disagreement

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with the head of the studio, he gave his twoweek notice and opened his first school -- The Chinese Kickboxing Kung Fu Academy. “I wanted to teach martial arts, so I Continued on Page 52

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MJV Athletics Training Center Continued from Page 50

decided to branch out on my own as an instructor,” he said. “I wanted to teach martial arts as a means of protecting one’s self, not only inside the ring, but more importantly, outside of it, and went full-throttle into being a fulltime instructor and full-time fighter.” After meeting Grand Master Evans of Modern Vee-Jitsu and being accepted as a student, Pritchett was given permission to teach Modern Vee-Jitsu (MVJ). After getting his blackbelt in Vee-Jitsu, “I noticed how much it changed me, my teachings and my fighters,” he said. “After speaking more in depth with Grand Master Evans, it was equally decided that with the athletic approach and the explosive methods of training that were included in the MVJ system, it would only be right to re-name our facility Modern Vee-Jitsu Athletics Training Center, Inc.” During his time in the ring as a competitor in boxing, Muay Thai, freestyle wrestling, karate, sanshou (Chinese kickboxing) and kung fu, Pritchett earned several accomplishments, including a perfect 15-0 record as an amateur boxer. In 1997, he was named the 1997 IKF Kickboxing gold medalist, the Delaware Kickboxing Champion in 1999, and in 2000, he earned a bronze medal at the Maryland Open Kickboxing Championship. During that time, Pritchett was ranked second in the United States and seventh in the world in sanshou, and was undefeated as a sanda/sanshou professional fighter.


Newark Life | Fall/Winter 2017 |

Pritchett is trained in modern vee-jitsu, Muay Thai, boxing, sanshou, freestyle wrestling, karate and kung fu.

Yet, when Pritchett was asked to share the forever moments of his time as a competitive fighter, he spun the question in another direction, choosing instead to answer it by highlighting the accomplishments of his students. He pointed to photographs of fighters on the wall who have come through MVJ Athletics Training Center and are now rising through the ranks of the local professional mixed martial arts circuit. He pointed into the gym, where one of those fighters -David “One-Two” Murray -- is helping youngsters to work punching bags. “David came to me in his mid-twenties,” Pritchett said. “He was recently divorced and was living with relatives, and he told me that he wanted to learn how to box, in order to relieve some stress in his life. Fast-forward to now, and Dave was a Philadelphia Golden Gloves boxing runner-up, and is now a professional boxer with a record of seven wins and six knockouts. “How MVJ and I helped Dave get to where he is today is

MVJ Athletics Training Center also offers an after-school program and summer camp.

Continued on Page 54 | Fall/Winter 2017 | Newark Life


MJV Athletics Training Center Continued from Page 53

incredible. He was God-sent to me.” Pritchett talked about the time he encountered a group of teenage thugs spray painting his first studio. He cornered them, but instead of taking their names and turning them in to the police, he invited them to join him at the studio. He trained Michael and Richard Legg to become fighters and then instructors, but what Pritchett is most proud of is that Michael and Richard now own homes and are raising families of their own. Perhaps his greatest students are Master David Bonilla, a modern vee-jitsu athletics Master Instructor who is now employed by the State of Delaware (whom Pritchett taught since the age of 11) and Pritchett’s son, Sensei Greg Pritchett III, who is the youngest black belt in the modern vee-jitsu system and a four-time kickboxing champion. He’s following in his father’s footsteps; Sensei Greg runs and operates MVJ Athletics Training Center II in Camden, Del. Joining Pritchett, Jr. and Bonilla are the countess other fighters who have come through MVJ, such as Schmelle Baldwin, Eddie Fuentes, Michael Hampton, Enrique


Newark Life | Fall/Winter 2017 |

Hernandez, Luis Hernandez, Zak Kelly, Brandon Mullins, Derrick Potter, Ornella Sathoud, Adonis Wilkins, and many others. * Today, Pritchett understands the struggles his mother had to endure, and as a parent himself, he has a better understanding of what she went through in attempting to raise a young man who needed guidance from a strong figure. The love and admiration he has for his mother is profound, and he passes it along to his students. “Fighting and modern vee-jitsu saved my life and gave me the opportunities that I have, but it’s the teachable moments that are most rewarding for me,” he said. “They let me know that I am doing the right thing with my life.” There are several prizefighting and MMA belts on the walls of the entrance to MVJ Athletic Training, and an equal number of over-sized trophies as well, some of which towered over the youngsters who hurried past Pritchett and into the gym, where they awaited their Continued on Page 56

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MJV Athletics Training Center Continued from Page 54

teacher. There are posters that promote upcoming fights, featuring current and former MVJ students. The irony in all the sparkling trinkets is this: There is a strong likelihood that none of the kids who waited for Pritchett to teach them will ever compete in a ring, and rarer still is the chance that even one of them will grow up to collect such accolades. At MVJ Athletic Training Center, not all champions win trophies. “In the end, we’re all on this mat and we’re all pushing to get through,” Pritchett said. “A mentor once told me that a good fighter keeps pushing until he can’t push any more. The great fighter keeps pushing until he feels like he’s going to pass out. And the champion? The champion keeps pushing until all seemingly unobtainable options are attained.” Pritchett changed into his practice uniform, entered the gym, and became a teacher. MVJ Athletic Training Center is in the Delaware Industrial Park (705 Dawson Drive, Newark). Visit, call 302-8616350, or email To contact Staff Writer Richard L. Gaw, email rgaw@chestercounty. com.


Newark Life | Fall/Winter 2017 |

Adult classes are taught several kinds of martial arts.


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349 Pulaski Hwy.

Kelway Plaza Suite 1, 314 E. Main St. | Fall/Winter 2017 | Newark Life


—————|Newark People|—————

A Newark natural Home Grown Café is 17 years old and going strong

All photos courtesy

Home Grown Café is a regular presence at food festivals around Delaware, including Taste of Newark.

By Pam George Staff Writer


asha Aber stands out in a crowd, and it’s not just because she’s statuesque. Nor is it because she effortlessly bucks the norm. Her idea of a point-to-point chapeau is a hat with pheasant feathers pointing to the sky. No matter what she’s wearing, Aber emits a natural charisma that starts with her broad smile. Her world, as seen through her Facebook page, is one where fairy woods, angels and sprites might really exist. “She’s very special,” said Vance Funk, former mayor of the city of Newark, who first met her when she was 12 years old. But don’t let this free spirit fool you. She’s also a


Newark Life | Fall/Winter 2017 |

businesswoman with an entrepreneurial streak. No sooner did she receive her University of Delaware diploma in 1998 than she opened a retail business on Main Street. In 2000, she and then-husband Eric Aber opened Home Grown Café. She now owns and operates the restaurant on her own. “Sasha’s keen eye for trends in this industry will always make her one step ahead of the next guy,” said Robert Lhulier, a longtime friend and a chef. Funk would agree. Aber was a pioneer on Newark’s restaurant scene long before there was a boom, he said. Sasha Blythe Temko Aber was born in a Baltimore hospital, but in many respects, she’s a Newark native through and through. She was just a baby when her parents, Vicki and Robert, decided to move from Pylesville, Md., to Delaware. Her

Sasha Aber of the Home Grown Café has been at the forefront of Delaware restaurateurs since she first opened the Main Street hotspot in 2000.

father sold insurance, and her mother, who had a master’s degree in early childhood education, worked for Parents as Teachers, which helps parents recognize developmental benchmarks for their children. She also volunteered for CONTACT Delaware, a crisis help line. Aber is the eldest of three children. These apples did not fall from the tree. Her brother, who now lives in New Hampshire, is involved in politics and education; and her sister, who is in California, is involved in healthy eating and a natural lifestyle. Because the family’s Newark house backed to the woods, Aber spent hours playing there. Her mother was a ceramic artist, and Aber showed early promise. Her father set up a workbench near his own basement studio so she could play with shapes and textures, which she combined to make

jewelry, metalwork and clothing. When she was 13, a metalsmith hired her to be an assistant. At Newark High School, where she took photography, she “definitely dressed differently than everybody else,” she said. “I’ve been a little brighter, a little more colorful. I definitely was in the hippie crowd.” When she was 16, she was an art director for a summer YMCA camp, where she also managed counselors. That year, she also met Eric Aber, a Sanford School student, during a Jewish youth group outing. They remained together while she studied apparel design at the University of Delaware and married on June 7, 1998, a week after she graduated. It was a big year. In November, she opened her boutique, Home Grown. Continued on Page 60 | Fall/Winter 2017 | Newark Life


Home Grown Café Continued from Page 59

Aber was young but she was no stranger to selling merchandise. Since the age of 18, she and Eric had been selling her clothing and juggling sticks at festivals and other events. She also sold her clothes through a beach vendor. Originally, the couple wanted to open a restaurant as well as a store. He’d been working in the hospitality business since he was 16. She’d worked at Jam’n & Java, where she’d watched the original owner carefully research West Coast coffee shops and source the best products before opening. “It was interesting to see the detail that he poured into that business,” she recalled. As teens, they’d bemoaned Main Street’s lack of healthy options. (She was vegetarian at that time.) But landlords did not want to take a risk on the twenty-something entrepreneurs. “Thank God they didn’t because we learned that restaurants are a lot of work,” she said. A small retail business was a different story, and one landlord took a chance on Aber, whose wares included items she made herself. Evidently, he was impressed.


Newark Life | Fall/Winter 2017 |

When one of his storefronts became available across the street, he rented it as a restaurant to the Abers. Home Grown Café opened in March 2000. “I told Eric that I would help him for two weeks,” she said. “It’s been a long two weeks.” The restaurant quickly snagged Aber’s attention from the store. She moved it across the street next to the restaurant in 2002 to better manage it. But, she acknowledged, it didn’t have the same vibe. Home Grown Café started as a 28-seat restaurant with an open kitchen and counter service. A deck was added in 2001. To serve alcohol, Home Grown needed more seats to meet the city’s requirements, and more seats meant going full service. Home Grown expanded into adjoining spaces, an evolution that is evident as you step into the restaurant today. The series of expansions meant the demise of the retail. “I miss it. It was pretty special,” she said. “I’d still love to have another one.” Were the owners lucky that stores opened up beside them right when they needed more space? Partially. “You

put things out to the universe and they come back to you – if you work for it,” she said. Today the restaurant has 130 seats and a full bar. From the start, the dining room sported an eclectic décor with bold orange and purple accent walls and a logo that used a groovy ‘60s-style font. “[Sasha’s] beautiful view of the what is good in the world comes through when you visit,” Lhulier said. “It’s whimsical, wholesome and natural.” As the size increased, so did the hours. Home Grown started offering Sunday brunch and dinner. The couple worked 60 to 80 hours a week, which became challenging for Aber, whose mother had terminal breast cancer. After an eight-year battle with the disease, Vicki Temko died in 2007. After the birth of Sequoia in 2008 and Lucian in 2010, Aber couldn’t work as many hours. “My focus was on my children,” she said. The restaurant had a good management staff in place,

Part of the eclectic vibe of the restaurant.

Continued on Page 62 | Fall/Winter 2017 | Newark Life


Home Grown Café Continued from Page 61

but she wasn’t completely absent. She often came in for a task, such as a wine tasting with a distributor. Sometimes she had a child in tow. As they entered preschool, she resumed more duties at the restaurant. When the couple separated and subsequently divorced in 2016, Aber became the sole owner of Home Grown, despite the fact that Eric Aber is a chef. “It’s definitely my third baby, for sure,” she said about why she wanted it. “Eric had been interested in pursuing other endeavors for a while. It gave us both the opportunity to do what we wanted.” Sole ownership also lets her flex her management style. Home Grown has always been celebrated for vegetarian options that go beyond pasta primavera. On the menu, items with a leaf beside them indicate a vegan entrée (no animal products, including dairy). A carrot notes a vegetarian option – or an item that can be made into a vegetarian dish. There are falafels, veggie burgers and tofu bahn mi sandwiches. However, you might also spot a porterhouse steak, pan-seared scallops and a


Newark Life | Fall/Winter 2017 |

burger made with brisket and short rib. The variety ensures consistent creativity, Aber said. “It pushes the kitchen to run in all those different directions and incorporate seasonal items. We offer specials twice a week, which allows us to go off the menu,” she said. “Because everything is made from scratch, we have control over making a vegan aioli over a regular aioli, or making something without gluten. We see what our customers are eating and enjoying.” When Home Grown first opened, its competition included Caffe Gelato, Klondike Kate’s and Iron Hill Brewery & Restaurant. There was more retail. Over the years, many shops have given way to restaurants. “Now there are so many choices for food,” she said. Despite working hard to maintain Home Grown’s hold on Main Street, Aber finds time to enjoy life. “She has that rare element which so many operators strive for: balance,” Lhulier said. She pursued a yoga certification and she’s active with Newark Center for Creative Continued on Page 64 | Fall/Winter 2017 | Newark Life



“As a veteran, a Hurricane Katrina survivor, and a minority majoring in STEM, my life has been filled with different challenges. Cecil College provides an arena for me to really challenge myself. I can’t put into words how much the professors have helped me reach my goals and plan for the future.” Alfred M., Cecil College | Biology



Home Grown Café Continued from Page 62

Learning, where her children go to school. She has faith in her team, which includes general manager Matt McConnell in the front of the house and Chef Andrew Thorne is in the kitchen, for running the restaurant when she’s not there. “Everyone is amazing, she said. “I don’t have to be on the floor every day. We have the same vision.” She handles the marketing, including the social media, catering and festival concessions. “She is a tremendous supporter of the events I created as mayor,” Funk said. Although based in Newark, Home Grown goes on the road. At the most recent Delaware Burger Battle, held at Bellevue State Park near Claymont, the restaurant served up a Maryland chickpea cake with heirloom tomatoes, a shishito pepper jam, pickled shallots, a fresh herb salad and a roasted shallot aioli on a Serpe’s Kaiser bun. As usual, Aber was manning the booth, greeting customers and serving up food. “Sasha has participated in the Delaware Burger Battle three times, taking home a trophy in 2015,” said organizer JulieAnne Cross. “She’s been helpful in other ways and is someone I can count on for a great perspective and advice.” In the 17 years since the restaurant was born, she’s become the face of the iconic downtown restaurant. That’s fitting considering her roots run deep in Newark. “Sasha is Home Grown,” Lhulier concluded. “She lives the Home Grown life.”

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Newark Life | Fall/Winter 2017 | | Fall/Winter 2017 | Newark Life


—————|Newark Life Photo Essay|—————

This band plays on Text and photos by Richard L. Gaw


Newark Life | Fall/Winter 2017 |

It is a generous slice of Americana and a timeless Autumn tradition of Newark, one bathed in school colors of black and gold and accented by the sound of a distant marching band getting nearer and louder, and for anyone who wants to find the beating heart of this town, they need not listen to anything else but the Newark High School Marching Band. Continued on Page 68

After the sudden retirement of the Newark High School Band director this summer, drum majors Cassie O’Quinn and Carolanne Tims, right, with the support of many others, helped keep the band and its members together. | Fall/Winter 2017 | Newark Life


Photo Essay Continued from Page 66

It almost didn’t happen this season. Before the start of band camp, a series of budget cuts forced the school to consolidate its band, and soon after, the band’s longtime director, Jonathan Wittman, unexpectedly retired, giving the band members a choice between folding up or marching on. Continued on Page 70


Newark Life | Fall/Winter 2017 | | Fall/Winter 2017 | Newark Life


Photo Essay Continued from Page 68

They marched on. Led by the determination of its two drum majors, Cassie O’Quinn and Carolanne Tims, the 75-member band scheduled its own summer practices in the heat of the Newark High School parking lot. They taught the band’s newest members the basics of marching. They received the support of former marching band members, school alumni community leaders and parents, who volunteered as drill directors and marching band instructors. Now, with the school’s new music director Mike Archer at the band’s helm, the Newark High School Marching Band is alive and well. Through the selfless dedication of many, the sweet sounds of Friday nights in the Fall will continue to be heard, for seasons to come.

New Marching Band Director Mike Archer, left, with colleagues John Sopkanich and Claire Martinez.

Anticipation is several rows deep along the home team’s sideline as the Sept. 22 game against visiting Hodgson gets underway.

Pre-game warm up, pre-game launch.


The Yellowjackets huddle back in thier locker room for some final coaching before the start of the game.

Newark Life | Fall/Winter 2017 |

The spirit of the Yellowjacket cheerleading squad shines through.

Newark kicker Alondra Hernandez.

Quarterback Mele Stallings heads back to the locker room. | Fall/Winter 2017 | Newark Life


———————|Newark Arts|———————


The all-volunteer Chapel Street Players, founded in 1935, keep delivering encore-worthy performances

All photos courtesy

The Chapel Street Players’ production of “Who-Dame-Dunnit?” which starred Scott Mason, Peter Matthews, Susan Boudreaux and Michelle Opalesky.

By Pam George Staff Writer


hen Susan Boudreaux’s family moved near Hockessin in 1972, her parents took the family to see a show by the Chapel Street Players. “I don’t know how my parents found out about it,” said Boudreaux, who was in sixth grade. “But we’d go periodically.” The theater became a family affair in more ways than one. Her parents served on the board, and in 1988, when she was 26, she took a role as Alice Sycamore in “You Can’t Take it With You.” Soon after that, she joined the board as the secretary. “I’ve been involved with Chapel Street Players ever since,” she said.


Newark Life | Fall/Winter 2017 |

Boudreaux is in good company. Scott Mason, who asked Boudreaux to join the board in 1994, has been the president of the board three times, and his current tenure started in 2009. Considering that it’s an all-volunteer organization – from the actors on the stage to the set designers to the directors – it’s clearly a labor of love. But it is one that’s brought pleasure to generations of audience members. “We went to see their Christmas show last year ... and it was a really fun night,” said Meg Morgan. “There was not a bad seat in the house, to use a cliché. The show was well done and fostered a wonderful sense of community. Drinks and snacks at intermission, too!” CSP, which kicked off its 2017-2018 season on Oct. 6 with the drama “1984,” has survived funding

issues, changing demographics and a city that’s swelled with university students since 1935, when the group performed its first play, “Mrs. Bumstead Leigh.” But the show has always gone on. Many people assume that the Chapel Street Players started on the university campus, and it did – sort of. UD’s theater program was founded in 1934 by Robert Kase. The students performed in Mitchell Hall, a building with a theater that opened in 1930. But students weren’t the only ones who started walking the boards on campus. Seeking an outlet for the faculty and the community, Kase’s wife and 34 others started the University Drama Group, or UDG, for short. Townspeople joined in 1936. UDG and the university’s E–52 theater group often swapped actors. During World War II, UDG produced a variety show for the sailors at the nearby Navy base in Bainbridge, Md. In 1948, UDG presented the first of several annual $50 awards to the UD graduate who contributed the most to the school’s theater program that year. When the UD theater program took off, especially during the Broadway boom in the mid-century, stage time in Mitchell Hall was reserved for student productions. By 1965, UDG membership exceeded 150, and the group needed new space. By scraping together money, including monies raised from a fundraiser that’s become a 50-plusyear tradition, UDG was able to purchase a brick church on Chapel Street in 1969. The former Baptist church still holds the evidence of its old use. The technical booth, for instance, is in the choir loft. Initially, two churches rented the space, and UDG performed in such places as Maxwell’s barn at the Walter S. Carpenter State Park on Route 896. The first official show in the new space, produced by the newly christened Chapel Street Players, was in November 1970. CSP performs four main stage shows a year, which are part of a subscription series. (You can subscribe even if you miss the first production.) Each year, CSP also features a June comedy or comedy-musical, known as a FUNdraiser, which has a set fee ($20) for all seats. This is the 55th year for the June event, which five years ago was named the Annual Renee G. O’Leary FUNdraiser in honor of O’Leary, a local resident, who has been in every single one of the fundraiser productions in one way or another. Since CSP is made up of volunteers, the selection process differs from that of a for-profit production. The group posts applications on its website for directors, who must submit an idea for a show, Mason said. Timing is important. “A director may have a great comedy, but if he or she is on vacation in June, when we slot a comedy, then we can’t do it,” Mason said. Continued on Page 74

“Time of Your Life,” from 1962.

“Angel Street,” which starred long-time Chapel Street actor Ernie Sutton.

“An Enemy of the People,” from 1961. | Fall/Winter 2017 | Newark Life


Bravo! Continued from Page 73

You won’t see a bevy of musicals during a single season. Royalties are much higher for these productions, Mason explained. Many musicals are available for a rental fee – you can’t buy the script – and the longer you have the material in hand, the more you pay. The price can go up if you use the provided prerecorded music. The first show usually has name recognition. Hence “1984.” The second show, which falls in December, often has a holiday theme. Since no directors suggested a play with a seasonal slant, CSP is doing “You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown.” “People tend to be looking for something to do when their kids are off,” Mason said. Arthur Miller’s “The Price” comes in February. “It’s fantastic, I think,” said Brian Touchette, who is on the board and the selection committee. “Arthur Miller is a classic playwright. ... He does an amazing job of character development.” “The Memory of Water,” a darker comedy that Touchette said is a “brilliant script,” is the featured play in April, and “Murder on Cue,” which Mason wrote and will direct,


Newark Life | Fall/Winter 2017 |

is the fundraiser. “We have a nice balance this season,” Touchette said. Touchette is the set designer for “1984,” which has a steampunk ambiance. His job is to make sure the director’s vision is effectively brought to life, he said. But he’s also supervised the sound design, worked the lights, directed and acted. About the only thing that he hasn’t handled is makeup and costume design. Switching tasks is not unusual at CSP, which encourages the volunteers to explore the different aspects of live theater. Boudreaux, in high school and college, spent most of her time backstage at the schools’ productions. That changed once she got involved with CSP, when she started acting. “I don’t know what happened,” she said. She credits the welcoming environment. “The wonderful thing about theater is that people don’t care who you are or where you come from, as long as you come there and do the work.” Doing the work, meanwhile, can take the volunteers away from everyday life, and that can be a good thing. “Theater is one of the few places that when I’m there, I

become so focused on what I’m doing that I’m not thinking about other things, such as problems in my life,” Touchette said. “I remember when my father was sick. The theater was one of the few places where I could immerse myself into something and keep going. Theater is so rewarding for me personally.” Touchette got involved in 1993. He’s not unusual. Many of the 50 to 75 volunteers have been with the theater for decades, and they hold down the fort. “It’s tough in today’s economy to get volunteers,” Mason acknowledged. “People rush home for work and it’s hard to grab a babysitter, or afford one.” Many can’t commit to working 12 hours on a prop that’s only on stage for 10 minutes. Recruitment is not the only challenge. Older patrons make up the bulk of the audience. Nevertheless, depending on the play and the performers, younger faces are peering up at the actors. Michele Gildea used to come to see the actors she knew. “Every production I saw was so well done and professional,” she said. “Seeing your friends to this is an added delight.” They can catch every nuance,

The Chapel Street Players recently kicked off its 2017-18 season, which will run through next June.

thanks to the theater’s small size. Outreach efforts to schools and youth groups are limited because many volunteers have full-time jobs. CSP last year held a 24-hour playwriting festival, during which six playwrights worked overnight to create 10-minute original plays that were delivered to directors who cast actors. It Continued on Page 76 | Fall/Winter 2017 | Newark Life


Bravo! Continued from Page 75

was so successful that CSP is holding a second event in April. “It’s really cool,” Mason said. “It forces the playwright to be really creative. It’s a neat process that allows directors who may have not directed for main stage to try their hand and get feedback.” The program received a grant from the Delaware Division of the Arts. About 50 percent of the theater’s operating costs are covered by grants. Ticket sales and the fundraiser make up the rest. It is put to good use. The building was built in the late 1940s, and repairs are continual. The building’s age is one issue. Parking is another. Previous owners of the Newark Shopping Center were fine with the theater’s audience using the parking lot. That’s changed since the center was sold and the new movie theater opened.

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Another concern is the growing population of students who now occupy the surrounding homes that once held families. As a result, CSP is considering a move outside the city limits. The group would not venture far. About 80 percent of CSP’s mailers are sent to residents within the 19711 zip code. “Our patrons know us,” Mason said. “They are part of the Chapel Street Players.” The volunteers’ reward for all this hard work is the spirit of collaboration and the ability to bring a unique show – no two performances are the same – to an audience. “We do this out of love of what we’re doing,” Touchette said. “We do this to see and hear the audience’s reaction. It’s very gratifying.” For more information on the Chapel Street Players, visit

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———|Newark Action & Adventure|———

On the right path In the greater Newark area, there are plenty of trails for people traveling on two legs or two wheels By Pam George Staff Writer


hannon O’Neill spent the past year studying in Hawaii, where the landscape is lush, the hiking trails are challenging, and the coast is within easy reach. What a difference a plane ride can make. Today, she is a student at the University of Delaware, where the hills roll rather than soar. O’Neill, however, feels right at home when she visits White Clay Creek State Park.


Newark Life | Fall/Winter 2017 |

All photos courtesy unless otherwise noted

Newark’s trail system is used by two- and four-legged athletes, large and small.

“It’s a beautiful place and reminds me of Hawaii – how green it was in September,” she said. “Then the leaves started to change, which is also kind of exciting.” O’Neill said she plans to get back to nature whenever she misses Hawaii, or the Delaware beaches, where she grew up. She’ll also go there to study. In her environmental nonfiction class, the students were reading “Pilgrim at Tinker Creek,” by Annie Dillard, which details an unnamed narrator’s explorations near her home, and her thoughts on nature and life. “It’s inspiring me to start adventuring around White Clay Creek,” she said. But White Clay Creek isn’t the only spot in the Newark area that is laced with trails for hiking and biking close to nature. The city has 33 parks, more than 17 miles of trails, and 650 acres of parkland and open space. In addition to White Clay Creek State Park, the city is near the Fair Hill Natural Resources Management Area, White Clay Creek Preserve and Lums Pond. While many trails are designed for recreation, others have a practical purpose: People can get from point A to point B without getting in their cars, and that’s appealing to students and people who work in the city. Multipurpose trails include the James F. Hall Trail, which in 2010 received the National Trail designation. Opened in 2003, the 1.76-mile, hard-surface trail was named for a former director of Newark’s Parks and Recreation Department. The relatively flat path runs through three parks: Phillips, Lewis and Kells. It also follows the northern edge of the Amtrak corridor to the Delaware Technology Park. Access points also include sites at Bradford Lane, Apple Road, the South College Avenue overpass, Academy Street, Manual Street, Chapel Street and Wyoming Road. Because it’s lighted and paved – and it runs across town – this trail is busy most days, and there are emergency call boxes posted periodically along the route so people feel safe. “What makes it so popular is its interconnectivity,” said Joseph Spadafino, the current director of Newark’s Parks and Recreation Department. “You can go from a lot of different residential areas and connect to Main Street, shopping and White Clay Creek – depending on how ambitious you are. It gets

Photo by Alan Turns

Reston Turns and Lauri Webber riding the new accessible trails at White Clay Creek State Park.

heavy bicycle and pedestrian use.” It’s no wonder that the League of American Bicyclists has named the city of Newark a Bicycle Friendly Community, which is awarded to communities that have demonstrated a commitment to bicycling. The trail is also part of the East Coast Greenway system, which runs from Maine to Florida. The Hall Trail connects to the 4.4-mile Pomeroy Continued on Page 80 | Fall/Winter 2017 | Newark Life


Trails Continued from Page 79

and Newark Rail Trail. “Those are great trails,” said James Wilson, executive director of Bike Delaware. His organization would like a trail that extends from Wilmington to Newark, which a significant percent of New Castle County’s population could easily reach. The Pomeroy Trail, which follows a railroad line that was abandoned in the 1930s, also links to White Clay Creek State Park, and users can follow the trail to the University of Delaware, Newark Shopping Center and the DART transit hub. The Pomeroy Trail isn’t the only path on land that was once used for another purpose. In nearby Bear, Lums Pond – the state’s largest freshwater pond – once powered a sawmill. The water was also used to fill the locks of the Chesapeake & Delaware Canal. Here you’ll find trails for hikers, cyclists and equestrians. To loop around the pond, take the Continued on Page 82


Newark Life | Fall/Winter 2017 |

The City of Newark offers 3 parks, more than 17 miles of trails an 650 acres of parkland and open space. | Fall/Winter 2017 | Newark Life


Trails Continued from Page 80

6.4-mile Swamp Forest Trail, made of crushed stone and packed earth. The 8.1-mile, packed-earth Little Jersey Trail flows through hardwood forests and open areas. It’s a wide trail that’s shared by hikers, bikers and equestrians. Within biking distance of Main Street rests the 3,600acre White Clay Creek State Park, which stretches from Route 896 to Polly Drummond Road. “It’s a beautiful place,” said O’Neill. “It definitely has surprised me.” The park is known for its hiking trails. And with 37 miles of trails, that is no wonder. The paths meander to scenic overlooks and past rocky outcrops, and many run alongside the creek or have creek views. The aptly named Creek Road Trail parallels the water for nearly 2.3 miles. Connecting trails will take you across the Pennsylvania border to that state’s White Clay Creek Preserve, a 1,255acre park that is three miles north of Newark. Back on the Delaware side, the 3.1-mile Tri-Valley Trail encompasses three sites: the Judge Morris Estate, Middle Run Natural Area and Possum Hill. (It passes through open fields, woods and Polly Drummond Road and Paper Mill


Newark Life | Fall/Winter 2017 |

Road, so use caution.) Both hikers and bikers can traverse through the Middle Run Valley Natural Area to Possum Hill. There’s a life course fitness trail in the Carpenter Recreation Area, and the Pomeroy Trail leads to a pedestrian bridge over White Clay Creek, which in fall and spring is stocked with trout. Fishermen can also catch sunfish and bluegills in four small ponds. Birders, meanwhile, flock to White Clay Creek, especially during migrations. The Chambers House Nature Center, located within the park, holds bird-watching excursions guided by naturalists. Many people enjoy the park for the architectural elements they they’ll find along the trails. The 3.9-mile Twin Valley Trail, for instance, is punctuated by old wooden bridges, stone walls and the Arc Monument, which marks the line between Delaware and Pennsylvania. There is even a 1950s-era Buick rusting in the belly of the forest. While the state labels this trail for hikers, don’t be surprised if you see a mountain biker – or 10. White Clay Continued on Page 84

Trails Continued from Page 82

Creek State Park is a mecca for cyclists who don’t mind bunny hopping over the rocky terrain. Traveling toward Maryland on Route 273, visitors will encounter the 5,633-acre Fair Hill National Resource Management Area, which is located less than a half-mile west of the Delaware border. Once owned by William du Pont Jr., the equestrian and foxhunting enthusiast who also owned Bellevue Hall, which is now part of Bellevue State Park in North Wilmington, the land was purchased by the state of Maryland in 1975. A blazed trail runs from each parking lot to join an 80-mile trail system used by hikers, mountain bikers and equestrians. (Fair Hill Stables runs guided trail rides.) To be sure, Fair Hill still caters to equestrians. There are steeplechase, timber course and flat races. This is also the home of numerous festivals, including the annual Cecil County Fair. Creating trails and bike paths was a priority for Gov. Jack Markell’s administration, which started the First State Trail and Pathways Initiative. In September, the city council voted to revive plans for a pedestrian-bicycle bridge over White Clay Creek, Continued on Page 86


Newark Life | Fall/Winter 2017 |

Families can traverse the city’s trails and participate in fun races throughout the year. | Fall/Winter 2017 | Newark Life


Trails Continued from Page 84

which the group had voted to kill just a week prior. The acquisition of funding sparked the reversal. The $1.75 million project has received seed money from New Castle County, which pledged $200,000, and the University of Delaware, which contributed $100,000. In addition, state Sen. David Sokola and Rep. Paul Baumbach promised an allocation of $150,000 from Community Transportation Funds. The project had already banked $1 million in federal and state grants. “It’s a great project because you have the city, state, university, county and federal funds all partnering to make it happen,” Spadafino said. The 230-foot-long, 12-foot-wide bridge will be named for Charles Emerson, the former Parks and Recreation director, and it will parallel the Paper Mill Road Bridge. Not only will it provide safe transport for bicyclists and pedestrians, but it will link Kershaw Park with Curtis Mill Park, which now occupies the old paper mill’s site. Construction should start in 2019. Continued on Page 88

The First State Trail and Pathways Initiative has already received $1 million in state and federal funding.


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Newark Life | Fall/Winter 2017 |


GREEN GRAZER GOATS 1-484-643-6939 In an age when people everywhere are becoming more environmentally conscience, goats have found a new role. They are being used as green, eco-friendly, all natural, land clearing machines. Considering that goats can go places heavy equipment can’t, are more economical than human labor, are safer for the environment, leave no traces of cancerous chemicals behind, and leave a smaller carbon footprint on the land, goats are an ideal choice for noxious weed and vegetation control. Using goats as an ecofriendly, green, and sustainable approach to noxious vegetation management is an ideal solution for hillsides, rough terrain, open areas, pastures, ditches, and embankments. They eat Poison Ivy, Poison Oak, Poison Hemlock, Sumac, Kudzu, English Ivy, Wild Rose, and much more, like it was their job! This form of noxious weed removal is being used by homeowners, ranchers/farmers, municipalities, public land management companies, golf courses, and school systems all across the United States. Goats are a winwin proposition!



Get “GOATIVATED” to get rid of your noxious weed and brush with Managed Goat Grazing by Green Grazer Goats! Blooming Branch Farms

Home of the Green Grazers Inquire Now! 484-643-6939 Go Green, Go Goats Economical, Eco-Friendly All Natural Land Clearing Service for Small and Large Areas

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ABOUT GREEN GRAZER GOATS: Green Grazer Goats is centrally located to service Delaware, Maryland and Pennsylvania. Our herds of healthy mixed sized goats are good for taking on any weed and brush clearing challenge. HOW MUCH DOES IT COST TO RENT GOATS: Every property is different and every client’s needs are different. Our rates are based on several factors that we would be glad to discuss with you in person after visiting the area needing to be cleared. We have daily rates and weekly rates as well as a small setup fee. We are happy to work with you on payment terms and bartering is always an option. THE FIRST STEP: Contact us to set up a free meeting to tour the area to be cleared, discuss your needs and a time line for the Green Grazers to complete the job to your satisfaction. WHAT’S NEXT: After the initial meeting our staff will draft a proposal and present it to you. Once the proposal is accepted, a contract will be sent. After all the legalities are done and the agreed upon deposit is paid, it’s GO TIME! The Green Grazers are delivered to the job site at the agreed upon time and put to work annihilating weeds. WHAT YOU HAVE TO DO: Our contract agreements can be made to allow you, the customer, to participate in the care of the goats as much or as little as you feel comfortable with. Our staff will come to the site and do the preliminary set up. That involves putting up temporary electric fencing to keep the Grazers corralled and focused on one area at a time. We also provide them with shelter, water and minerals to keep them healthy and happy, so they can do what goats do best, EAT! Our staff will visit often to monitor the Grazers and report to the client on their progress. At the end of the Green Grazers contracted time, we will meet with the client to discuss options and provide feedback on the area that was recently cleared. It is IMPORTANT to us that we leave our customers satisfied with a JOB WELL DONE! If you would like to schedule an appointment to discuss how Green Grazer Goats managed goat grazing could be right for you, or for more information, call 484-643-6939 or visit us and Like us on Facebook at Green Grazer Goats


Trails Continued from Page 86

Spadafino said future projects could improve interconnectivity within Newark. The city will play a large part in any effort to link Newark to Wilmington via a trail, he added. He stressed that the city won’t just create trails for the sake of making them. “It should be a viable project,” he said. “We want to know that people will take advantage of it, whether it’s to exercise, walk, birdwatch or just get out and enjoy the environment.”


As the trails demonstrate, bike routes aren’t limited to parkland, although they provide scenic views of them. A map on the city’s website ( DocumentCenter/View/16) indicates bike routes throughout Newark. There are icons for park-and-ride lots and bike shops. The trails are color coded to show the traffic load, so you can avoid heavily traveled routes if you wish. For more information on bike trails in Delaware, check out the Tourism Office’s website at

Newark Life | Fall/Winter 2017 | | Fall/Winter 2017 | Newark Life


Mayor’s Harvest Festival Oct. 8, 3 to 8 p.m., Olan Thomas Park Come on out to attend the first-ever Mayor’s Harvest Festival! The Mayor’s Harvest Festival will be held at Olan Thomas Park Oct. 8 from 3 to 8 p.m. This will be an exciting afternoon filled with fall fun. There will be food, music, dance lessons, hay rides, children’s crafts and games, and an outdoor movie showing.

Halloween Parade and Trick-or-Treat Oct. 29, 3 p.m., Main Street Newark’s 68th annual Halloween Parade is drawing near. Plan to be a part of this special Halloween event, complete with marching bands, floats, antique automobiles, costumed characters and more. The parade begins at Tyre Avenue and Main Street and marches west on Main Street to College Avenue. Registration is not necessary if you want to come in costume and walk in the parade. A lineup space will be provided. Check in at the information booth at George Read Park by 2:30 p.m. on parade day. Local clubs, civic groups, school bands, PTA’s and scout troops are encouraged to participate. Politicians and political groups must be in costume and pre-register. No pets, please. For cancellation information, call 302-366-7147.

BewBark PawLooza Nov. 4, 9 a.m., Handloff Park Grab a leash and your BFF (Best Furry Friend) and join us for a howling good time on Nov. 4 at Handloff Park. NewBark PawLooza will be a furtastic good time with exciting activities and vendors that will provide all of your pooch-pampering needs. Watch doggie demos, participate in canine contests, enjoy a romp around the park, or meet your new best friend at a local rescue group booth. Vendor packets are now available. All dogs must be leashed (6 feet or less), non-aggressive, and up to date on their shots in order to attend. 90

Newark Life | Fall/Winter 2017 |

Winterfest Dec. 1, 6 to 8 p.m., Main and Academy streets Winterfest promises to be a wonderful addition to the holiday season. Holiday entertainment, roasting chestnuts, caroling, tree lighting, ice carving demonstrations and more will fill this wonderful evening of fun for the whole family. Winterfest is a joint effort by the Newark Parks and Recreation Department, the University of Delaware, and the Downtown Newark Partnership. The Delaware Special Olympics will be holding their Annual Reindeer Run in conjunction with Winterfest (Visit | Fall/Winter 2017 | Newark Life



Newark Life | Fall/Winter 2017 |

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Newark Life Fall/Winter 2017  
Newark Life Fall/Winter 2017