How about making 2019 the Year of Civility?

DOVER — Some notes and quotes between headlines and deadlines …


On Christmas Day, we will once again carry a commentary from Bishop Peggy Johnson, of the Eastern Pennsylvania and the Peninsula-Delaware Conferences of The United Methodist Church.

As we close out a year of fear, tumult and shouting, a line in her holiday message this year caught this editor’s eye.

She was talking about the need for self-control.

“There is a lot of negative rhetoric and fearful talk going around these days,” she wrote. “I would like to proclaim that the year 2019 be ‘The Year of Civility,’ tempered by the power of God.”

Bishop Johnson said we should stop and asking ourselves questions before speaking.

“Is it true? Is it necessary? Is it kind? If it doesn’t pass these three tests, then don’t say it,” she wrote.

Her full commentary will appear in our Christmas Day edition.


It was great to hear from Terry Young a few days ago.

Mr. Young, a native Delawarean who works for a defense contractor in Virginia, has been following the journey of the USS Delaware — a nuclear submarine that will join the fleet of the Navy next year.

On Monday, the 7,800-ton, 377-foot submarine entered the water for the first time.

Huntington Ingalls Industries is the ship builder in Newport News, Virginia. After the launch in the James River, the boat was moved to a submarine pier for final outfitting, testing and crew certification.

“We look forward to completing construction and sea trials next year so this great warship can join the fleet and defend our nation,” said Dave Bolcar, Newport News’ vice president of submarine construction.

In October, the submarine was christened by Delaware’s Jill Biden.

In May 2016, this column featured a fun tale of how Mr. Young secured a license plate that reads SSN-791, the boat’s hull markings. Of course, it drew the envy of USS Delaware Chief of Boat Ricky Heering.

Crew members from the USS Delaware were in Dover a few days ago for a party at the Elizabeth W. Murphy School.


The Oct. 21 edition featuring the christening of the USS Delaware was one of this editor’s favorite editions in 2018.

Next week, this column will reflect on the year’s biggest stories.

You might already guess that gun violence drew significant interest, as did coverage of the first trial of inmates involved in the Smyrna prison uprising.

A few days ago, the Associated Press said the Florida school shooting was voted the year’s top story in a poll of U.S. news editors and news directors.

The mass shooting at Parkland High School, which killed 17 students and staff, sparked nationwide student-led marches for gun control.

The No. 2 story was the investigation by special counsel Robert Mueller into whether Donald Trump’s election campaign coordinated with Russia.

The Parkland shooting happened on Valentine’s Day. The gunman, using a semi-automatic rifle, killed 15 students and two staff members at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. Previous mass shootings had prompted passionate calls for tighter gun-control laws, but this time was different. A group of student survivors at the school, soon joined by allies nationwide, launched the March for Our Lives movement that organized massive walkouts and peaceful protests at schools across the country. The movement remains active, and has helped energize the broader campaign for tougher gun laws.

Third on AP’s poll was the #MeToo movement, which surfaced late in 2017. It maintained momentum throughout 2018 as many more powerful men were forced to account for past instances of sexual assault and misconduct. Comedian Bill Cosby was sentenced to prison; so was Larry Nassar, the former Michigan State and USA Gymnastics sports doctor convicted of molesting hundreds of young women.

Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein was charged with rape. And Les Moonves was ousted as top executive at CBS after a dozen women accused him of sexual misconduct.


Maryland has a muskrat drop in Princess Anne and a crab drop in Easton.

And all across the country, there are unique New Year’s Eve traditions that draw on what communities are known for.

In Harrington, Delaware, there will be a “tractor drop” this year.

So the young ones in the town can attend, the countdown will begin at 7 p.m.

The festivities will start at 6:30 p.m. in the parking lot on Mechanic Street across from the police station.

It will kick off the city’s 150th anniversary celebration in 2019.


Members of the Camden-Wyoming Rotary Club had a good Christmas tale to share earlier this month.

After the Dover parade, Santa continued through the city aboard a Farmall tractor pulling the Rotary Club float. A Dover motorcycle officer pulled alongside and asked where they were headed.

He switched on the flashing lights and sped ahead of them, stopping traffic on Governors Avenue so the jolly one could safely cross.

One of the Rotary members said quietly to the officer, “You know he’s not the real Santa, right?”

The officer replied, “I’m not taking any chances this time of year.”

Merry Christmas!

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