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Don Rush

The Wicomico County public schools will wrap up the term on June 17th.

Maryland Schools Superintendent Lillian Lowery has allowed the district a three day waiver after 9 days of school were missed due to the spate of snow storms this winter.

The Salisbury Daily Times reports that along with the 5 additional days that have been added to the school calendar April 7th which has been set aside for teacher workshops will be counted as a sixth school day.

March 31 will replace the professional day for teachers and classes will see an early dismissal.

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There's an afterglow from the Maryland Senate vote that unanimously approved the $40 billion budget.

The surprise outcome caught many members cheering as the final vote count went up on the board.

Capital News Service reporter Anjali Shastri was there and describes the scene and the issues for Delmarva Public Radio's Don Rush. 

Manor House website

EASTON, Md.  (AP) - A fire believed to ahve been caused by a lightning strike has damaged a nearly 150-year-old building in Easton.

Firefighters say the blaze broke out Thursday afternoon after a short thunderstorm at the Manor House in the Londonderry retirement community.

Authorities say firefighters from several local volunteer companies battled the blaze.

Easton Volunteer fire Department fire captain Kevin Dulin tells the Star Democrat of Easton that damage was limited to the roof and second floor. There were no injuries.

Don Rush

The Sexstyle Adult Boutique in Salisbury is no more.

The yellow building stood on Church Street and could be seen by motorists traveling up and down Route 13.

The Salisbury Daily Times reports that a group of out-of-town investors has bought the property according to a Remax Crossroads Real Estate agent in Salisbury.

The price of the property was $20-thousand.

That was far below the $49-thousand asking price.

The sale came with the promise that the investors would not lease the property back to the former owners of the adult entertainment business.

msa.maryland.gov

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) - One of the longest serving delegates and the first African American woman to chair a General Assembly legislative committee is being memorialized in a portrait.

On Friday, the Baltimore City delegation is set to unveil the portrait of Hattie Harrison, a Democrat from Baltimore who had the distinction of being the longest serving delegate until her death in 2013.

Harrison was elected to the Maryland House of Delegates in 1973, where she represented District 45. She was the chairwoman of the House Rules and Executive Nominations Committee for 33 years.

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ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) - A federal audit says Maryland misallocated $28.4 million in federal money for its flawed health care exchange and is recommending the state pay the money back.

The inspector general of the Department of Health and Human Services is releasing the audit Friday.

It says Maryland misallocated costs to federal grants instead of the Medicaid program in 2013 and 2014. The audit says Maryland did not use updated estimated enrollment data when it became available.

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Delaware Governor Jack Markell uses a pseudonym email address to conduct public business.

And that has drawn sharp criticism from Representative John Kowalko and John Flaherty president of the Delaware Coalition for Open Government.

They have sent a Freedom of Information Act request for the alias email that the governor uses.

The two say that the emails sidestep principal of transparency in government.

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RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe has signed a new state budget that includes a pay increases for state employees, boosts cash benefits for welfare recipients and has more money for the governor to spend on economic development.

The Democratic governor signed the budget Thursday at the Capitol while touting his good working relationship with Republican leaders on the state's spending plan.

McAuliffe did not try and amend the budget that state lawmakers approved last month.

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ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) - The Maryland Senate has voted unanimously for the state's $40 billion budget.
 
The vote was 46-0 Thursday.
 
Lawmakers made extra cuts to restore scaled-back education funding initially proposed in Gov. Larry Hogan's budget. A 2 percent cost-of-living adjustment for state employees also has been restored.
 
Democrats and Republicans spoke positively about the bipartisanship that went into the Senate's budget work.
 

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DOVER, Del. (AP) - Delaware health officials say the state is seeing a record number of influenza cases and deaths this flu season.

Officials announced Thursday that there have been 2,309 lab-confirmed flu cases so far this season. That surpasses the 2,247 cases confirmed in the 2009-2010 H1N1 outbreak dubbed "swine flu."

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DOVER, Del. (AP) - Natural resources officials are reminding Delaware residents that flying drones is restricted in state parks.

The Division of Parks & Recreation said in a news release on Wednesday that that the use of drones on all park lands is restricted and otherwise illegal without proper authorization.

Parks officials point out that flying of unmanned aircraft creates problems such as harassment of wildlife, filming of unaware park visitors and injury from crash landings.

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The repeal of Delaware’s death penalty inched forward this week with a Senate committee approving the legislation that excludes the 15 inmates currently on death row.

Senator Karen Peterson is cosponsor of the measure.

And, the Stanton Democrat along with other supporters of repeal says that capital punishment is not only costly but has been applied in a morally discriminatory fashion.

This is not the first time that repeal has headed to the full Senate for approval.

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COLLEGE PARK, Md. (AP) - Officials say a Maryland college student won't return to campus this semester after an email he sent filled with racist and sexist language was made public.

University of Maryland College Park officials announced Wednesday that the decision was made by "mutual consent" with the student, who sent the email to fraternity brothers in January 2014. The school's investigation is continuing.

Don Rush

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is conducting a field hearing in Richmond on payday lending.

The hearing Thursday will feature remarks from the bureau's director, Richard Cordray, and Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring. Consumer groups, advocates for the poor and industry representatives are also expected to speak, as well as members of the public.

Observers say the bureau could issue guidance or possibly proposed regulations for payday lending.

BALTIMORE (AP) - School systems in Maryland can apply to waive up to three snow days this year.

After a winter that saw many systems delay and cancel classes because of snow and ice, the state Board of Education voted Tuesday to authorize Superintendent Lillian Lowery to make case-by-case decisions on waivers from the state's 180-day requirement.

The board also asked that each system's waiver request include an outline of calendar changes made to meet students' instructional needs.

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OXON HILL, Md. (AP) - Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan is helping to celebrate a milestone with the MGM National Harbor resort and casino.

On Wednesday, the governor is offering remarks during the MGM Resorts International's 1,000th member construction workforce celebration.

The $925 million project was projected last year to bring about 2,000 construction jobs and 4,000 permanent jobs.

The plans for the site include a casino that can hold 3,600 slot machines and 140 table games. Officials said it could open as early as 2016.

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ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) - The Maryland Senate is scheduled to consider changes to the state's $40.4 billion budget plan.

Two budget bills that are working in tandem to balance the state's books for the next fiscal year will be before the Senate on Wednesday.

The House of Delegates approved the measures last week.

The House restored money for education that Gov. Larry Hogan had scaled back to help balance the state's books in the long term. The House also restored money for a 2 percent cost-of-living adjustment for state employees.

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Great Bay Wind says it’s turning to solar power instead.

Pioneer Green Energy has announced that the obstacles to erecting a large wind farm in Somerset County have led to an indefinite suspension of its plans.

The Salisbury Daily Times reports that in a letter sent to the Somerset County Commissioners last week the company said that with language in the federal defense legislation last year delaying the project had caused too much uncertainty to move ahead.

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The latest permit renewal request for the Delaware City Refinery found more than 500 people crammed into an auditorium at the Gunning Bedford Elementary School last night.

It was hearing on the facility’s cooling water intake and pollution discharge rights.

Environmentalists showed up -- some in fish costumes – and argued that the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control had incorrectly agreed to issue the permit.

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New Castle County Auditor Robert Wasserbach denounced – what he called – a “cowardly” effort to diminish his probe into the county’s second in command David Grimaldi.

The investigation is looking into switching of $92 million to money manager UBS without going through the bidding process.

Wasserbach says that his report will look at whether the county’s finance managers actually abided by county policy when investing the county surplus.

amnestyuse.org

DOVER, Del. (AP) - A bill reviving attempts to abolish capital punishment in Delaware after an earlier failed effort is teed up for its legislative hearing.

The Senate Judiciary Committee was scheduled to meet Wednesday to consider the legislation, which mirrors a bill that passed the Senate in 2013 by only one vote before dying in a House committee.

The legislation would remove execution as a possible punishment for first-degree murder, leaving life in prison without the possibility of parole as the only sentence.

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ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) - The Maryland Senate has voted to make third-party travel websites pay all of the state's sales tax, because bill supporters say they currently are getting around paying the full amount.

The Senate voted 31-16 for the bill Tuesday.

Supporters say it closes a loophole for online travel companies, which only pay the sales tax on a discounted price it pays the hotel. The bill requires them to remit the same amount of sales tax collected from customers as Maryland's hotels do.

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ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) - A Senate committee is likely to vote this week on what direction the Maryland charter school law should go in the future.

Sen. Joan Conway, D-Baltimore City, chairwoman of the Education, Health and Environmental Affairs Committee, told reporters Tuesday her committee is considering an amended version of Gov. Larry Hogan's bill to expand the state's charter school law.

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ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) - Female same-sex couples in Maryland would have the same health care benefits for artificial insemination as heterosexual couples, under a bill passed by the state Senate.

Senators passed the bill 37-10 on Tuesday.

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DOVER, Del. (AP) - The state House has approved a bill updating regulations regarding Delaware's medical marijuana program.

The legislation passed unanimously with no debate Tuesday. It now goes to the governor, and defines the membership of a nine-member oversight committee that will evaluate and make recommendations regarding implementation of the program.

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RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - A federal appeals court will hear arguments on key provisions of Maryland's sweeping gun-control law.

The hearing is set for Wednesday before a three-judge panel of the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond.

U.S. District Judge Catherine Blake last year upheld Maryland's ban on 45 assault weapons and a limit on gun magazines to 10 rounds. Maryland lawmakers approved the measures in response to the shooting deaths of 20 children and six educators at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, in 2012.

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Don Rush

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) - Maryland officials say traffic deaths are at historic lows in the state.

Transportation Secretary Pete Rahn, state police Superintendent William Pallozzi and other state officials plan to discuss the specific numbers at a news conference Tuesday in Annapolis.

In a news release ahead of the announcement, AAA Mid-Atlantic says traffic deaths on Maryland roads fell to historic lows last year. The numbers included all traffic deaths in Maryland reported by law enforcement agencies across the state.

developer

Opposition is gathering against the Overbrook Town Center in Milton.

The complex would be located on 114 acres of farmland across from the intersection of Route 1 and Cave Neck Road.

But WBOC reports a group known as the Overbrook Town Center Coalition has sent out hundreds of letters opposing the project.

It says that the new shopping center would lead to traffic problems as well as producing environmental concerns among other issues.

Dover website

The Dover City Council has decided it wants to give its mayor less power not more.

Two weeks ago the council had decided to give the Mayor more authority.

But during last night’s meeting the council president David Bonar said the panel was just trying to fix a mistake it made two weeks ago.

It had voted 5-to-2 to have most of the city departments report directly to the city manager who would in turn the mayor.

But last night the council voted to have the city manager report to the city council with most departments reporting to the city council.

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