Local hotels and motels are feeling the effects of the nation’s economic slowdown.


    A discussion about the importance of highway signs as they affect the state capital came up at the monthly meeting of the Kent County Tourism Board and apparently the wife of the new governor is someone who can see a need for more of them.

    In talking with Cindy Small, executive director of the Kent County & Greater Dover Convention and Visitors Bureau, Carla Markell mentioned her family expected to be in the Governor’s House on weekends and she guessed many of their friends wouldn’t know how to find the place.

    As busy as the governor has been, he and his wife have taken time to acquaint themselves with downtown Dover by walking up Kings Highway to Loockerman Street and around that area.

    What Cindy and her staff think would help travelers discover Dover better would be signs that mention the historic areas, the location of restaurants and shops, and other attractions such as the many museums.

    The Markells are from the Wilmington area, of course, and it’s commonly known most of the Delaware residents from above the canal tend to speed right by the state capital on their way to the ocean areas. They don’t know what they are missing, especially in the spring, summer and fall when the many public gardens around Dover are a delight to the eye and spirit.

    Since the state provides a residence for the governor we can hope the First Family will spend as much time as possible in the First City of the First State.

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    Another item of general interest that came out of the monthly tourism board meeting, held this past Thursday at the Delaware State News building on Horsepond Road, concerned Dover now being qualified to apply for Preserve America grants given by the federal government. There are 10 points on which an applicant community is judged, with at least six needed for success. Dover scored well on eight of them. Lewes and Milton are the only other Delaware communities in this category.

    Elaine Brenchley, program manager for the First State Heritage Park of Dover, was congratulated as the person who persevered to get the recognition for Dover, with the paperwork in the application getting the signature endorsement as well of Mayor Carleton Carey, who also was at the meeting.

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    One other note from the tourism meeting. While the number of hotel/motel rooms available in Dover has climbed from 1,700 to 3,000 in recent years, this local business group is feeling the effects of the nation’s economic slowdown. This isn’t unexpected, of course. It’s just a fact of temporary economic life that the hoteliers have to live with.

    Ann Watkins, whose family has the AmericInn Lodge & Suites in Milford and the MicroTel Inn & Suites in Dover, sounded a positive note when she said: “There are solutions out there. Let’s be part of it. Don’t cut services.”

    That’s the kind of attitude that will help businesses survive and prosper.

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    An economy in trouble isn’t slowing down the effort to build a new library in Dover, one that will be the “anchor library” for Kent County.

    While the existing city library in Dover is known as the Dover Public Library, the fact is that a tally of library users shows 52% of those using the library’s services are from outside the city limits. That statistic in itself backs up the need to have a major library serving both Dover and Kent County residents. (Dover residents also are county residents, of course, but I’ll skip going down that road.)

    Margie Cyr, the Dover Library director, continues to tell the story of why a new library is needed and how it is hoped the funding will work out. In these times, it isn’t an easy task, but the rewards of a modern library are worth the serious effort underway.

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    This seems to be all about the local economy, which is certainly a subject affecting us all. With that in mind, it also might be mentioned both local citizens and visitors can benefit from taking advantage of all the local places worth visiting, and at no charge.

    To emphasize the number and diversity of available venues, here is a list: Air Mobility Command Museum, Biggs Museum of American Art, Delaware Public Archives, Delaware State Police Museum and Educational Center, Delaware Archaeology Museum, Delaware State Visitor Center and Galleries, John Dickinson Plantation, Johnson Victrola  Museum, Museum of Small Town Life and the Old State House.

    It’s quite a list, don’t you think? 

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    In the middle of a stage show a guy in back yells out to the ventriloquist: “You’re making fun of us local people! Cut it out!”

    The ventriloquist replied to the attack by saying, “It’s only joking. You don’t have to take offense.”

    And the guy yells back: “I’m not talking to you, stupid. I’m talking to that little fella sitting on your knee!”