O’Neill hopes to address vacancies if elected


Deborah O’Neill

MILFORD — Deborah O’Neill moved to Milford about 40 years ago as a newlywed with her husband, James, and has been active in the community ever since.
Now faced with a vacant City Council seat in Ward two, Ms. O’Neill is hoping to get a chance to sit at the table alongside other devoted community members.

“I think the city is very well managed. I’ve done a lot of public service and I just want to continue that,” she said.

Ms. O’Neill sat on the Milford School Board for ten years, the same district her own four children, Jim Jr., Bob, Brigid and Mary, attended.

She is also involved in the Parish Council at St. John the Apostle Catholic Church and is currently sitting for a second term as vice president of the Milford Rotary Club where she is also a past president.

The planning and zoning commission also takes up some of her time as she stills holds that appointment after being nominated by the late Skip Pikus, who left the City Council vacancy upon his death.

“He had that much trust in me to be involved in the community,” she said. “It would be an honor to continue serving our community.”

Hoping to see the community continue to grow, Ms. O’Neill said she hopes to address major vacant properties as a member of Council if elected.

“We need to consider the re-purposing of the vacant middle school. It has not had any successful buyers. I think the city needs to retain the property, work with grants and turn that area in to a park. I think that would be a wonderful use for this property,” she said.

The current hospital in Milford is also on her radar as an upcoming need as the city and Bayhealth work towards opening a new facility on the south side of town over the next several years.
“That’s two major facilities vacant in Ward two,” she said.

Currently an operating room nurse at the Milford Bayhealth campus, she has worked in various positions, including director of perioperative services, for over 30 years. In her free time, she said she likes ‘just being out’ and enjoys the library and Riverwalk.

“Milford is a wonderful community to live in and raise a family in,” she said. “It needs to continue on that track and that’s why I’m running for Council, to continue with my involvement.”

The Ward two candidate can be reached through e-mail at flag.day@verizon.net. A special election will take place on Tues., Sept. 1 from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Lisa Ingram Peel and Stephen C. Walter will also be on the ballot on Sept. 1.


Peel runs for Ward II with ‘vested interest in the city’


Lisa Ingram Peel

MILFORD — As a candidate for the vacant Milford City Council seat, Lisa Ingram Peel says she has a ‘vested interest in the city’ where she was born and now raises her own young family.
She said the council and the city have several opportunities for growth which she would like to help foster, starting with the younger generations in the area.

“One opportunity I see is establishing a greater connection between the City of Milford and Milford School District. I think by working in tandem through programs, such as the Milford Student Employment Program, Milford students can work with local businesses and volunteer at community events to gain an understanding of civic responsibility,” she said.

“Great schools are at the heart of a strong community. City Council must be supportive of the work done by our school system and see its success as integral to our community as a whole.”
Ms. Peel said she is forward thinking and has the experiences Milford needs to continue developing the growing community and ‘maintain its integrity to bridge the past with the future.’
The developing downtown area and sense of community drew back the Milford High School graduate after college who said she spends most Saturdays running along the Riverwalk and stopping for an iced latte and breakfast cookie at Dolce’s. She also enjoys Saturday gatherings hosted throughout the year such as the farmer’s market.

The Peel’s have three children who are also active in the area, attending schools within the district and participating in the arts through the Mispillion Art League and the children’s theater at Second Street Players as well as sports programs through Parks and Recreation.

Already working towards raising a younger generation, she currently serves on the board of directors for the Greater Milford Boys and Girls Club as the board development chair. She also volunteers at various events each year and serves as the volunteer coordinator for the club’s annual Kidfest event.

She said she is also very interested in repurposing the vacant buildings within Ward 2 such as the current Bayhealth facility which is moving its business to a new facility yet to be built.
Pursuing a doctoral degree in educational leadership at the University of Delaware, she currently works at Delaware Technical Community College in Dover as the instructional director for education. During the past ten years, she has also been an instructor, coordinator and chairperson in various areas at the school.

Her background includes becoming a nationally board certified teacher and founding a Spanish immersion program while in North Carolina for kindergarten through fifth grade students. She now serves on multiple advisory committees through her position at the college and acts as the secretary for the Delaware Association of Colleges of Teacher Education.
“Milford is at a crossroads as the best generation embraces the opportunity for public service. It is a critical time for young people to get involved and usher in smart growth for Milford,” she explained. “I am running because I want to be involved in that growth.”

The Ward 2 candidate can be traced through her Facebook page: Vote for Lisa Ingram Peel for City Council, or via e-mail at lisaingrampeelforcitycouncil@gmail.com.
A special election will take place on Tues., Sept. 1 from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Deborah A. O’Neill and Stephen C. Walter have also filed for the Ward 2 council seat left vacant after the death of Skip Pikus earlier this year.



Walter vies for Milford Council Ward 2 seat

Stephen Walter

Stephen Walter

MILFORD — Milford resident Stephen Walter has been considering running for office for years, and now hopes to have a seat at the table with other members of the Milford City Council for Ward two.

“I think it’s exciting, the opportunity to be a part of a lot of the changes coming up. Ward 2 has the middle school, Bayhealth, the old fire house, we have a lot of opportunities for great things to happen in Milford and really catapult the downtown into greater success,” the candidate said.

Although he was born in Churchville, Pa., he moved to the area when he was 13-years-old and hasn’t left since. Mr. Walters is a 1997 graduate of Milford Senior High School and has two associate degrees from Delaware Technical Community College, one in culinary arts and another in food service management.

Mr. Walter, 36, works as the general manager of Ruby Tuesdays in Rehoboth Beach, but is active in the Milford community during his off time.

As a member of the local masonic lodge, he was installed as their worshipful master in June. He has been an officer each year since joining in 2010. He said he is also involved with the hospital fair and Christ Episcopal Church.

“There’s a lot of things that I do in the community that we don’t seek recognition for as Masons. There’s things we just do, like help park vendor cars for the Bug and Bud festival,” he said.

“Everything they do is to just be better people, to make a better world, really,” his wife Tiffany said, who is excited to watch her husband run for office. “It’s old fashioned, but it suits me very well to be the supportive wife and see him succeed at things because we do it as a family.”

The couple have three children who all attend school in the Milford district. As a family, Mr. Walter said they love exploring the area and can often be found enjoying local events such as the Roaring 20s party and downtown festivals.

He said he hopes to bring his experiences, knowledge, excitement and curiosity to the Council. “I like to learn new things. It’s exciting to me I guess,” he said. “I’m really interested in getting involved in the things that are happening in the community. I’m really good with leadership and just overall really good at making things happen.”

Aside from work and local activities, Mr. Walters also sits on the culinary advisory board at DTCC’s Terry Campus. The campus has since been accredited by the American Chefs Federation.

“It’s not a big thing to help someone out when they need help, that’s just what we should do,” he said on why he wants to get involved. “When someone in the community needs stuff, I feel like it’s our responsibility.”

The Ward two candidate can be reached via his Facebook page, Walter 4 Ward 2, or at Walter4Ward2@verizon.net. A special election for the seat left empty after the passing of Skip Pikus will take place on Tues., Sept. 1 from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Deborah A. O’Neill and Lisa Ingram Peel have also filed for the seat.

Jennifer Antonik can be reached at mc@newszap.com

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