News

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DOVER, Del. (AP) - Just months after fellow Democrats expressed concerns about Delaware's dire financial situation and a potential $160 million shortfall for the upcoming fiscal year, Gov. Jack Markell is proposing to increase the state's operating budget by more than 5 percent.

The $4.1 billion proposal unveiled Thursday includes $18 million in new spending for a general pay increase for state employees, and an additional $16 million for other salary increases, including $9 million in annual pay increases for teachers.

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Wicomico County officials made their pitch to the Maryland Board of Public Works for $5 million to be used to construct a new West Salisbury Elementary School.

The Board of Education wants to fast track the funding for an opening in the fall of 2018.

The Salisbury Daily Times reports that the Board of Education approved the schematic design for the school in early January.

The paper reports that a decision on the state funding won’t come for the 2017 fiscal year until May.

Dover Downs Casino Website

Dover Downs raked in a profit last year earning
$763-thousand in the last three months of 2015.

Much of it was due to the late NASCAR race and cutting costs by 3 percent or $5.3 million.

The Wilmington News Journal reports that at the end of 2014 the company registered a loss of $516-thousand.

Total revenue for the fourth quarter was $46.1 million – an increase of 8.7 percent.

2015 was also the first year that the casino made an annual profit since 2013.

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RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - Democratic Gov. Terry McAuliffe and the Republican speaker of Virginia's House of Delegates are set to announce a rare compromise on gun policies that has leaders in both parties applauding.

McAuliffe and House Speaker William J. Howell plan to outline the deal at a news conference Friday.

McAuliffe spokesman Brian Coy said Thursday that the policy strengthens some gun control measures while reversing a policy that would have invalidated concealed handgun permits in Virginia held by residents of 25 other states.

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ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) - Maryland supporters of allowing terminally ill residents to legally end their lives with drugs prescribed by a doctor are reintroducing legislation this year.

Supporters said Thursday the measure would allow mentally capable, terminally ill patients with less than six months to live to obtain prescription drugs they could ingest themselves, if their suffering becomes unbearable.

Del. Shane Pendergrass, a Howard County Democrat who is sponsoring the bill, says the choice would be up to the individual, who would self-administer the drug.

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BALTIMORE (AP) - Maryland environmental officials have invalidated seven lead-free certificates issued by a private inspector after finding issues with reports and tests.

The Maryland Department of the Environment said in a news release Thursday that is investigating whether rental properties certified by the inspector as having no lead paint are really free of the material.

 

SALISBURY, MD---Delmarva Public Radio (DPR) welcomes two new shows to WSDL 90.7 FM this month.

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Accomack County officials gave a thumbs down to the federal government’s plan for offshore oil and natural gas exploration.

The vote on the Accomack County board of supervisors at the session was unanimous.

The Salisbury Daily Times reports that during the meeting it was noted that Maryland and Delaware have both opted out of offshore exploration.

The federal government has included an area 50 miles off the Virginia coast as part of its draft version of the five year plan starting next year.

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There were just over 2-thousand serious crime committed in Salisbury last year.

They range from homicide and rape to burglary and arson.

That continues the general decline since 2009.

But Police Chief Barbara Duncan said that she wants to get serious crimes under the 2-thousand mark.

The Salisbury Daily Times reports that she noted the city did not experience a homicide in 2013 and 2014.

That was a first in two decades.        

Last year there were four homicides.

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The blue crab could be coming back in Delaware.

The harvest is expected to bring in around 4 million pounds.

The Wilmington News Journal reports that’s 1 million pounds over last year’s projection.

The latest projection says that it saw the highest index of juvenile blue crabs the state has seen since the mid-2-thousands.

The News Journal reports that previous winters were extremely cold producing higher mortality rates.

Meanwhile, when it comes to oysters the projections spell trouble.

The quota in 2016 has been set just over 10-thousand.

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DOVER, Del. (AP) - A Delaware judge has overturned the conviction and death sentence of a man found guilty in the shooting deaths of two men in Wilmington 20 years ago.

In a ruling Wednesday, the judge questioned the fundamental legality and fairness of Luis Reyes' trial.

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DOVER, Del. (AP) - The state House of Representatives is set to vote on a bill to abolish Delaware's death penalty.

The bill to be voted on Thursday narrowly cleared the Senate last year, but had been languishing in a House committee until the committee chairman agreed last week to release it.

Judiciary Committee members voted 6-to-5 last May not to send the bill to the full House after it narrowly cleared the Senate on an 11-to-9 vote.

Democratic Gov. Jack Markell has said he would sign the measure if it reaches his desk.

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RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - Some Virginia lawmakers are hoping to undo Attorney General Mark Herring's decision to revoke the state's concealed handgun permit agreements with more than two dozen states.

The Democratic attorney general announced last month that Virginia will no longer recognize the concealed handgun permits of 25 states he says don't have strong enough protections. The new policy goes into effect on Monday.

But WVIR-TV reports that a handful of lawmakers have introduced bills aimed at overriding Herring's decision.

Don Rush

DOVER, Del. (AP) - Legislation to increase Delaware's current $8.25 minimum wage by $2 over four years has passed the state Senate after generating heated discussion among lawmakers.

The bill cleared the Democratically-led Senate on an 11-to-8 party line vote Wednesday and now goes to the House.

To increase the bill's chances, chief sponsor Robert Marshall, a Wilmington Democrat, withdrew a provision that called for cost-of-living adjustments tied to Social Security benefit increases starting in 2021.

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Delaware congressional lawmakers have sent a letter to the head of the FBI seeking information about the recent spate of bomb threats made against public schools.

Senators Tom Carper and Chris Coons along with Representative John Carney say that would like the assistance of the FBI to find out who was behind the threats.

The Delegation noted that not only was Delaware effected but that the Los Angeles School District, the largest in the country, saw 900 schools shut down after receiving threats.

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ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) - Gov. Larry Hogan is again pushing for tax credits for people and businesses that make donations to public and private schools.

The Republican governor released education initiatives Wednesday for the legislative session. The governor would phase in tax credits over three years totaling $15 million. They are aimed at boosting donations for kindergarten through 12th grade and pre-K programs.

The proposal ran into resistance last year in the Democratically-led General Assembly.

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DOVER, Del. (AP) - Gov. Jack Markell has signed legislation revising Delaware's corporate income tax system to eliminate disincentives for multistate firms to hire workers and invest in property in the state.

The bill signed Wednesday revises how the state apportions income tax, using a formula that is based on a company's payroll, property holdings and sales in Delaware.

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HYATTSVILLE, Md. (AP) - Prince George's County Police say a Hyattsville woman found dead in a neighbor's yard died of hypothermia.

Officers said Wednesday in a news release that relatives of 84-year-old Orinda Nelson reported her missing Monday night. Police say family members told them Nelson suffered from Alzheimer's disease and frequently wandered from her home.

Officers went to places Nelson had been found before. A bloodhound was also used in the search.

Police say on Tuesday, a neighborhood resident found Nelson's body in the resident's backyard.

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ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) - Gov. Larry Hogan says the state will provide scholarships to students who finish high school in three years or less.
 
The governor signed an executive order on Wednesday creating the $6,000 scholarships.
 
Hogan says it's a smart use of tax dollars. That's because the state can reallocate money it would have spent on the student's last year in public high school to help with the first year of college instead.
 

Reginald F. Lewis Museum of Maryland African American History and Culture

Ruth Starr Rose painted what are considered to be some of the most significant portraits of an African American family on the Eastern Shore. A white woman who lived in Talbot County she rendered these paintings and images at a time when Jim Crow was in full swing. In part 2 of our series Delmarva Public Radio's Don Rush explores the activism in her art and her work as one of the most significant artists to depict the stories of Negro spirituals. Her work is on display at the Reginald F. Lewis Museum of Maryland African American History and Culture in Baltimore through April 3rd.

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BRIDGEVILLE, Del. (AP) - Delaware State Police say a former lawmaker has died after a crash near Bridgeville.

Police announced in a news release that 84-year-old Ben Ewing was in the westbound lane of Federalsburg Road on Tuesday evening when he was hit by a Mazda CX5. Police say Ewing, a former state representative and state police deputy superintendent, was thrown onto the shoulder of the road and the Mazda stopped nearby.

Police say Ewing died at the scene. 60 year-old Janet Bradley, driver of the Mazda, was not injured.

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DOVER, Del. (AP) - A state House committee is set to discuss legislation mandating paid family leave for all full-time state workers, including employees of school districts.

The bill to be discussed in the House Administration Committee would entitle employees with at least one year of service to 12 weeks of paid leave upon the birth of a child or adoption of a child 6 years old or younger.

If both parents work for state government, each would be eligible for paid leave.

Don Rush

DOVER, Del. (AP) - Legislation to increase Delaware's $8.25 minimum wage by $2 over four years has generated sharp discussion in the state Senate.

Bill sponsor Robert Marshall of Wilmington tabled the bill Tuesday after lengthy debate, saying later he didn't know whether it had enough votes to pass.

Supporters say the measure will help struggling low-wage earners. Opponents say it will lead to businesses cutting jobs, hiring fewer workers and even leaving Delaware.

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RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - Republicans hoping to replace a Virginia Supreme Court Justice installed by Democratic Gov. Terry McAuliffe say lawmakers will vote this week on whether she should remain on the court.

Republicans have protested McAuliffe's appointment of Justice Jane Marum Roush in July, saying he did a poor job of consulting with GOP leaders before making his pick. 

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Maryland Governor Larry Hogan wants to up the penalties for drug trafficking and tighten the state’s program that monitors prescription drugs.

One measure would bring the state’s anti-gang statute more in line with the federal racketeering law.

The second measure would make the prescription drug monitoring program mandatory in identifying and investigating drug abuse.

In his statement the governor said he wanted to bring the various stakeholders together in the fight against the increasing phenomena of heroin and opioid addiction.

Salisbury University's Cultural Calendar week of Feb. 1st, 2016

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Jim Ireton made it official kicking off his campaign for Maryland’s First Congressional District in Crisfield this morning.

Fresh off his victory for the Salisbury City election after concluding two terms as the city’s Mayor the Democrat emphasized what he described as the incumbent’s failure to come to the aid of local governments on the Eastern Shore.

"We need a congressman who will go to Washington to make a difference not a point," he declared.

Reginald F. Lewis Museum of Maryland African American History and Culture

Ruth Starr Rose painted some of the most iconic images of an African American family on the Eastern Shore during some of the most segregated times in America. However, her images caught a dignity and strength of character not seen in many of the depictions of the time. Delmarva Public Radio's Don Rush looks at her portraits of the Moaney family in part 1. Her work is being displayed at the Reginald F. Lewis Museum of Maryland African American History & Culture through April 3rd.

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REISTERSTOWN, Md. (AP) - Maryland officials say they intend to pursue federal disaster assistance after this weekend's snowstorm.

Russell Strickland, the director of the Maryland Emergency Management Agency, announced Monday he has sent the letter of intent to seek assistance to federal officials.

Gov. Larry Hogan says he has directed the agency to work with the federal government and seek all available assistance to support recovery efforts.

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ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) - Maryland's Senate president is bracing his colleagues about "very difficult" budget work after reviewing Republican Gov. Larry Hogan's budget plan.

Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller told senators Monday night he predicts the Democratic-led General Assembly will be arguing about the budget down to the last day of the session.

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