Our guy tracks the Obama-Biden party train in Wilmington and blitzes the ballroom at the Bayhealth Black and White Gala in Dover.

Partying Politics

“Obama is hot, and Biden is my co-pilot,” was how local fashionista Toni Toomey summed up her feelings when the presidential party train rolled through Wilmington three days before the inauguration. Was it the heat Toomey claims Barack Obama radiates, or was it the promise of a fireside toddy at Harry’s Seafood Grill after the rally that kept her and her friends warm on that coldest of days? It hardly mattered. Toomey and 5,000 other determined, change-seeking spectators jammed the station and neighboring Tubman-Garrett Riverfront Park to get a glimpse of the president-elect and our very own Joe Biden. “The last time it was this crowded was when Kennedy came through in ’62,” one attendee commented. Marsha Washington of Wilmington looked quite pleased with the $10 T-shirt she’d purchased on Market Street. “I love it,” she said, “and wasn’t leaving without one.”

Delawareans young and old—as well as several bus groups and a healthy number of Obamabilia vendors—jostled in long lines at the security tents, but no one seemed to mind. Francis Dickerson brought her 12-year-old son James from New Jersey. Hortense Priest, who taught at McKean and Wilmington high schools, walked from her Eastside neighborhood to be there and “thanked God for Obama and for the bright clear day.”

The national anthem was sung very nicely by Nicodemus Williams, a student of nearby Kuumba Academy. Wilmington Mayor Jim Baker wholeheartedly welcomed everyone. Governor Jack Markell likened Obama’s personal vision to that of Harriet Tubman’s. “We have to build a new America from the ground up” said the guv. “We are that new America.”

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As the Obama-Biden train pulled into the station, manager Gregg Weaver told the patient patriots how his staff frequently delayed a D.C.-bound train if Biden called to report he was late. At the podium, Biden thanked the Amtrakers who occasionally invented the “mechanical difficulties” that gave him time to catch his ride.

Finally, the man everyone waited shivering to see, Barack Obama, approached the mike. Young Mr. Dickerson hopped up onto a trash can to take snapshots of Mr. Obama. Dozens of camcorders, cameras and cell-phone cameras were instantly thrust his way, so he and yours truly did our best to tape, snap and click until Barack, Michelle, Joe and Jill were whisked away.

The crowd was slow to leave. I had the distinct sense that everyone wanted to revel in their brief encounter with greatness for a moment longer. We followed the bunch filing into Harry’s. At the fire, I found Ms. Toomey with three of her gal pals: jewelry designer Olga Ganoudis, who was enthusiastic about a new government that “will relate, not detach,” Denee Planck, who said she “felt the love,” and Stacy Skinner, who was grooving on a margarita and the “historical sympatico” of celebrating her 44th birthday on the inauguration of the 44th president. Cheers to that.

Page 2: Sittin’ On The Block of the Bay


Sittin’ On The Block of the Bay

The sparkling showpiece item on the auction block at the Bayhealth Black and White Gala scholarship fundraiser at the Dover Downs Hotel Ballroom was a beautiful diamond necklace donated by Ron and Ellen Sayers of Sayers Jewelers in Smyrna. Inter-connected rings studded with 76 diamonds were suspended from an 18-inch chain of 14-karat white gold, all valued at $1,700, all surrounded by gala guests who were mesmerized by the delicate creation. One of them was the winner of last year’s auction prize—also donated by Sayers Jewelers—Claire Bradley, whose husband, Jerry Bradley, wore his own piece of personal flair: a small lapel pin given to him by former president Jimmy Carter for his 4,000 hours of community service. Value: priceless.

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About 200 guests celebrated Bayhealth’s partnerships with the auxiliary of Milford Memorial Hospital and the Junior Board of Kent General, according to the congenial Pam Marecki, assistant vice president of marketing for Bayhealth. Pam introduced us to auxiliary president Pat Fisher and board members Cynthia Jones and Judy Grier. Junior Board president Lisa Grossman told us how the scholarships help individuals pursuing post-secondary healthcare education.

Bayhealth CEO Dennis Klima proudly extolled the program’s low vacancy rate for nursing positions. Scholars can attend the school of their choice, then, after graduation, work at a Bayhealth hospital for two years.

Guests sat down for dinner at impeccably set round tables for eight. The salad course was quietly and expertly served by the hotel’s attractive waitstaff while The Quake sang and played hip standards liked “Route 66.” After dessert, Dr. Richard Crabb and his wife, Pat, both on the Milford board, sat out only one dance. Richard is a retired surgeon of 16 years and she a retired registered nurse. The Crabbs were glad to help launch so many young people into successful healthcare careers. “It’s nice to see the new guard coming in,” Pat said.

Back on the block, the live auction was reaching its liveliest moment, with the necklace finally going to high bidder James E. Quirk of Millington, Maryland. Countless others are the winners of expert healthcare, thanks to the $300,000 Bayhealth has awarded to young scholars over the past 15 years. Ciao for now.

Page 3: First State Fashion Plate | The Belles and Beaus of the Balls

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First State Fashion Plate

The Belles and Beaus of the Balls

Lois Chamberlain, the first vice president of the Milford Memorial Hospital Auxiliary, dazzled at the Black and White Gala.














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