DOVER, Del. (AP) - The Delaware Senate has unanimously approved Gov. Jack Markell's nominations to fill vacancies on the state Supreme Court and Superior Court.

Senators on Wednesday confirmed Collins Seitz Jr. to succeed retired Supreme Court Justice Henry DuPont Ridgely. They also approved Jeffrey Clark, a Kent County lawyer, state Public Service Commission member, and former Senate attorney, for a Superior Court judgeship.

The votes came after friendly vettings by the Senate Executive Committee.

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ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) - The Maryland Senate voted unanimously to start double checking the state's answers when it comes to standardized tests.

In a 46-0 vote on Wednesday, senators approved a bill to create a commission tasked with reviewing Maryland's system for testing public school students.

The 19-member commission, according to the legislation, will have a year to do its review after which it must present its findings to all local boards of education as well as the state.

Delaware Department of Justice

GEORGETOWN, Del. (AP) - A former Republican state Senate candidate who was accused of repeatedly molesting a young neighbor more than 25 years ago has pleaded no contest to two counts of unlawful sexual contact.
Eric Bodenweiser entered the plea Wednesday morning in Sussex County Superior Court. The plea comes nine months after a judge declared a mistrial in the case when jurors could not agree on a verdict. A retrial had been scheduled for April in Kent County.

LEWES, Del. (AP) - Delaware officials say a popular fishing pier in Lewes is projected to reopen next winter.

The Salisbury Daily Times reports that the Department of Natural Resources plans to start repairs to the Cape Henlopen Fishing Pier in summer or fall.

Officials ordered the World War II-era pier closed in October when an inspection found it was in immediate need of repairs.

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ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) - The Maryland House of Delegates is taking up the state's $40 billion budget.

Lawmakers are scheduled Wednesday to consider changes to the budget plan for the next fiscal year, which begins July 1.

A House panel voted unanimously last week to make room to add more money for education and to restore a 2-percent cost-of-living adjustment for state employees.

DOVER, Del. (AP) - Democratic lawmakers are planning to introduce legislation that would raise Delaware's minimum wage by $2 an hour over the next four years.

Supporters of the bill want to see the minimum wage rise in four increments to $10.25 per hour by 2019.

State lawmakers passed legislation just last year raising the hourly wage from $7.25 to $7.75, with another increase to $8.25  taking effect on June 1 this year.

Supporters have said the higher wage will stimulate the economy and help low-income families.

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ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) - The state of Maryland says 289,131 residents enrolled in health care in the second sign up period.

The state says 122,778 enrolled in private plans. Of those, 87,007 received an advanced premium tax credit. There were 35,771 enrolling in private plans without a subsidy.

There were 166,353 enrolled in Medicaid.

The state says 88 percent of applicants were determined eligible for financial assistance, either through Medicaid or subsidies for private plans. That's up from 80 percent a year ago.

Don Rush

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - The Virginia Employment Commission says the state's jobless rate fell in January to 4.7 percent, the lowest rate in more than six years.

The state's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was down from 4.8 percent in December 2014 and down from 5.3 percent a year ago.

The commission says January's rate was the lowest rate since October 2008.

Industries seeing employment increases included private education and health services, construction and manufacturing.

Don Rush

The Wicomico County Council yesterday turned back an effort by County Executive Bob Culver to halt the demolition of the old Bennett Middle School.

Culver’s 5 year capital improvement plan withdrew the money and called for using the building for county offices and moving the new athletic fields for the James M. Bennett High School to property on the athletic practice field on Division Street.

The council members questioned the timing of the decision to halt the demolition plans.

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The Cape Henlopen School district could have some new schools in its future.

A taskforce has recommended a plan that would include renovating or completely replacing five elementary schools.

The facilities that could be replaced are the Brittingham and Rehoboth elementary schools.

WBOC reports that the task force also called for the district to buy land in the Lewes area for a new county-wide Consortium

The first phase would cost $47 million.

$18 million would come from local funding while the state would come up with the rest.

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ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) - Victims of hazing are sharing their stories in support of a state bill in Maryland that would strengthen penalties for offenders.

At least three Maryland students are testifying on Tuesday before a House committee in favor of tougher hazing laws.

Two proposed bills would raise the maximum fine for hazing from $500 to $5,000 and increase prison time from six months to nine months.

Don Rush

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) - The Maryland House of Delegates has voted to bring back a voluntary check off on individual income tax returns for public campaign financing for governor.

The House voted 134-6 on Tuesday for the bill, which was opposed by Republican Gov. Larry Hogan.

The original check off was repealed in 2010.

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DOVER, Del. (AP) - The Delaware Senate is set to vote on Gov. Jack Markell's nominations to fill vacancies on the state Supreme Court and Superior Court.

The Senate Executive Committee meets Wednesday to consider Collins Seitz Jr. for the Supreme Court seat vacated by retired Justice Henry DuPont Ridgely. Lawmakers also will consider Jeffrey Clark, a Kent County lawyer, state Public Service Commission member, and former state Senate attorney, for a Superior Court judgeship.

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DOVER, Del. (AP) - Delaware lawmakers are introducing legislation to add electronic cigarettes to the state's indoor smoking ban.

The bipartisan bill filed Tuesday adds electronic cigarettes, also known as e-cigarettes or digital cigarettes, to Delaware's Clean Indoor Air Act, a 12-year-old law that prohibits smoking in restaurants, bars and other public places.

Electronic cigarettes, which do not contain tobacco and are not regulated by the Food and Drug Administration, heat liquid nicotine into an inhalable vapor.

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With the ascension of Pope Francis to the papacy, many Catholics detect a new wind blowing through the Vatican - a new openness not seen in many years. But, what will it mean for the Catholic church and will it last? Noted author Gary Wills has recently written a new book, "The Future of the Catholic Church with Pope Francis." He tells Delmarva Public Radio's Don Rush that he sees the church already being dramatically changed -- especially by the Catholic parishioners themselves.

Man in Dover Found Shot

Mar 17, 2015
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DOVER, Del. (AP) - Delaware State Police say a man has been shot in Dover.

It happened about 5 p.m. Monday near Daniel Rodney Drive and David Hall Road. Troopers were called to the area for a reported shooting, and found a 25-year-old man with gunshot wounds to his lower torso.

The man was taken to a local hospital, but police do not know his condition.

Officers say no suspects have been developed yet.

caltechbikelab blog

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) - Maryland cyclists are gathering for an annual meeting on safety and transit.

The 18th annual Bicycle Symposium is being held in Annapolis on Tuesday.

The free meeting provides an opportunity to talk and learn more about the cycling environment in Maryland.

Attention has recently been focused on bicycle safety after a Maryland Episcopal bishop was charged with drunken driving and manslaughter after fatally striking a cyclist late last year.

Don Rush

You will soon be able to pay for parking with your phone in Ocean City municipal lots.

The resort is taking plans from a number of companies but the biggest firm is the app Parkmobile.

Among the advantages is that the app would alert you to when your time is running out.

WBOC reports that the Ocean City Police Department issued over 58-hundred parking tickets last year.

The town is hoping that the new app will reduce those numbers.

Working Families website

BALTIMORE (AP) - Supporters of a bill requiring Maryland businesses to provide paid sick leave are planning a protest on Tuesday at a Baltimore Wendy's.

About 20 members of the group Maryland Working Families plan to rally at the fast food restaurant and educate diners about the legislation and the current sick leave policy of Wendy's.

The Healthy Working Families Act would require businesses with 10 or more employees to offer up to a week of earned paid sick leave.

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The latest Delaware revenue projections find that tax-collection estimates dropped more than $45 million.

That’s the word from the Delaware Economic and Financial Advisory Council on Monday.

The governor’s $3.9 billion budget had been based on a higher projection.

The decline will now force the governor and lawmakers to trim state spending or hike revenue to balance the state budget.

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) - Leaders of a Maryland Senate panel that steers state spending say recent changes to the state budget are something the whole General Assembly can support.

Sen. Richard Madaleno, the panel's vice chairman, told a cheering crowd in Annapolis Monday that he expected unanimous votes in both chambers for changes to add more funding to education and to restore a 2-percent cost-of-living adjustment for state employees.

Panel chairman Sen. Edward Kasemeyer said he felt confident Republican Gov. Larry Hogan would also support the changes.

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BETHESDA, Md. (AP) - Doctors say an American health care worker who contracted Ebola while volunteering in a Sierra Leone treatment unit is now in critical condition at the National Institutes of Health.

The agency says the patient's status was changed Monday from serious condition to critical condition, meaning the person's condition has apparently worsened. The patient is being treated at the National Institutes of Health's hospital near Washington.


Mayor Jim Ireton unveiled his 5 year $63.6 million spending plan on capital improvements for Salisbury.

The biggest expenditure is $4.1 million for the “Main Street Masterplan” that would renovate a number of structures along East Main Street in the downtown area.

The money would come from a number sources including from the town’s water and sewer revolving fund and bond sales.

In addition, the Salisbury Daily Times reports that it will also include investment in new police vehicles and residential paving.

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A recent oil spill, say environmentalists, could be a warning signing for the town of New Castle.

Work crews are cleaning up the last of a spill from Battery Park after a cargo ship dumped 100 gallons into the Delaware River.

The Wilmington News Journal reports that the oil came from the barge Wild Cosmos on March 9th at the Port of Wilmington.

The paper reports that tar balls have been discovered as far north as Salem County, New Jersey.

Around 15-hundred feet of shore at New Castle has already been affected.

Don Rush

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) - The Maryland Senate has voted in favor of a bill restoring voting rights to ex-felons immediately after their release from prison.

The vote for the bill was 29-18. It was spearheaded by Sen. Joan Carter Conway, D-Baltimore City.

Under current election law, someone convicted of a felony in Maryland cannot register to vote until they have completed their punishment- which includes prison time, probation and parole.

Conway's bill would make it legal for someone to register as soon as they have been released from prison.

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In Easton the Talbot Interfaith Shelter can use an old bed and breakfast on Goldsboro Street in Easton.

A judge says that the property that once housed Easton’s Promise bed and breakfast can be the site for taking care of the homeless.

Neighbors have raised questions about the year round shelter seeking to close it down after it was given permission last July to provide shelter to the homeless.

It now becomes the first full time shelter in Talbot County.

Previously the homeless were given shelter during the cold winter months at the various local churches.

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RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe has signed a new law that reins in the use of seclusion and restraint as methods of controlling children in public schools.

McAuliffe signed legislation Monday requiring the state Board of Education to develop regulations governing the use of the techniques across Virginia's 134 school divisions, according to the governor's spokesman.

The legislation had broad support from both chambers of the General Assembly.

PIKESVILLE, Md. (AP) - Vice President Joe Biden says $41 million in federal funds approved by Congress will help clear rape kit backlogs across the country and solve crimes.

Along with Sen. Barbara Mikulski, Biden toured a Maryland State Police forensic laboratory in Pikesville on Monday and addressed the importance of clearing the backlog of an estimated 400,000 rape kits that remain untested throughout the U.S.

Biden said the federal funding will help local and state law enforcement agencies test the kits and train personnel.

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RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - Former Richmond mayor and ex-convict Leonidas Young is running to replace a Virginia lawmaker who was jailed after a sex scandal involving a teenager.

Young said he will announce his candidacy Tuesday for the House of Delegates seat occupied by Del. Joseph Morrissey.

The ordained Baptist minister was convicted on fraud charges in 1999. He served as Richmond mayor from 1994 through June 1996.

Young said Morrissey has supported his efforts to return to public office. His announcement will take place at Morrissey's law office.