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Senator Tom Carper spent his Friday in Sussex County. He started off by getting a tour of the work being done on the new Indian River Inlet Bridge. The surface that’s being poured is a sandy, gritty-like surface that will provide additional traction, be grooved and will be impervious to road salt and brine in the winter. The surface has a lifespan of 25 to 30 years, according to project managers. Senator Carper said that it was important to provide quality infrastructure to keep the economy going. In Sussex County, that means providing poultry farmers a way to get their chickens to the market, and tourists a way to get to fishing spots and the beach. DelDOT says the tower cranes will be taken down starting Dec. 15, and two lanes of traffic (one in each direction) on the bridge will be open to traffic in late January. All four lanes will be open to traffic by early May, which will have it ready for Memorial Day weekend traffic.

Carper then visited the Western Sussex Boys & Girls Club in Seaford to discuss a program it recently started. The Supporting Communities through the Coordination of Education and Services, or SUCCESS Program, makes it easier for residents to overcome hurdles, such as transportation or a language barrier, gain access to needed social service resources. Carper says it’s much cheaper to get kids involved in activities at the Boys & Girls Clubs (costing $500 or less per year), versus dealing with them in the criminal justice system, which can cost around $40,000 a year.

Carper was also a bell ringer for the Salvation Army at Hocker’s Supercenter in Clarksville, and participated in Selbyville’s Christmas Parade. Carper says he’s always loved everything about parades, and likes being able to be close to the people he serves. As for ringing the bell for the Salvation Army, he says encouraging people to donate is about leading by example. He also described how he worked in a mom-and-pop grocery store while growing up in his native West Virginia, and how spending money in stores like that is a much bigger deal for those owners than it is at Wal-Mart.

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