Taking it to the Streets
With their savory — and often unusual — fare, food trucks are catching on in coastal Delaware
By Pam George
From the May 2016 Issue
According to the trade magazine Mobile Cuisine, food trucks generated $1.2 billion in revenue in 2015, a 12.5 percent increase over the tally five years earlier. Granted, it’s not a new concept. Silver-sided trucks serving hotdogs, premade sandwiches, sodas and chips were construction site staples in the mid- to late-20th century. Urban universities and many downtown districts — think New York and Philadelphia — have food trucks on seemingly every corner. But in the past five years, these delectable deals on wheels have taken on a new spin, complete with colorful, clever branding and specialty menus. Consider the trendy Cuban sandwich (Cubanos) offered by the food truck in the movie “Chef,” which made viewers long for mojo-marinated pork shoulder, boiled ham, yellow mustard, Swiss cheese and sour dill pickles.
Despite the popularity of shows like “The Great Food Truck Race” on the Food Network, the concept was slow to catch on in Delaware. These trucks began popping up in Wilmington and Newark in northern Delaware in 2014; to the south, Big Thunder helped pave the way.
Blowin' in the Wind
How many ways are there to generate clean energy? The University of Delaware’s Lewes turbine is one.
By Lynn R. Parks | Photographs courtesy of The University of Delaware
From the April 2016 Issue
The Lewes turbine, installed in 2010, was a joint project between the university and Gamesa, a Spanish manufacturer of wind turbines with its U.S. headquarters in Philadelphia. The cost of construction was $6 million, a little more than half of which Gamesa paid. The U.S. Department of Energy contributed $2 million and the university paid the balance, about $900,000.
The structure is owned by Gamesa and Blue Hen Wind, a corporation formed by the university. All of the revenue generated by the sale of electricity as well as from renewable energy credits (including Gamesa’s share) goes toward research and to fund graduate fellowships to study wind energy.
From its inception, the turbine was to be as much a research tool as a way for the college to cut its carbon footprint. In particular, Gamesa was interested in looking at the effects the turbine would have on birds and bats and whether the seashore is too corrosive an atmosphere for these devices.
A two-year study on the former got underway right away. Researchers from the University of Delaware and Delaware State University, with advice from the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service and the state Division of Natural Resources and Environmental Control, looked at how many birds and bats were being killed by the turbine’s turning blades.
A Town's Rejuvenated Heart
A confluence of entrepreneurial know-how, community spirit and governmental aid have Milton’s once-struggling downtown on the upswing again
By Mary Ann Benyo | Photograph by Scott Nathan
From the April 2016 Issue
There was an earlier time “when you never had to leave Milton to get everything you needed,” recalls Lisa Sumstine. The fourth-generation Miltonian (a Bryan before marriage) describes the 1970s and early ’80s: “There was a women’s clothing store downtown, a record store, the hardware store, the grocery store.”
These memories — and her optimism — gave Sumstine the courage to take the job as executive director of Milton’s Chamber of Commerce in July 2013 when things were far less prosperous. “It was tough,” she says. “My main task was to bring people to Milton to spend money. But there was nothing to do. There was not much downtown at all. We went through a significant period of time when you couldn’t even buy a birthday card in town.” The Mercantile had not yet opened, and the building that houses it was vacant. The theater was too. Three other storefronts were empty. Most of the town “slowly turned into a place where people just kind of lived and you had to go elsewhere to conduct business,” Sumstine notes.