Don Rush

Assoc. Program Director- Sr. Producer News and Public Affairs

Don Rush is the News Director at Public Radio Delmarva (WSCL/WSDL) in Salisbury, Maryland on the campus of Salisbury University. He has spent the last 35 years in broadcast journalism specializing in national politics. Before coming to Salisbury he spent 12 years in Washington DC with the Pacifica Network News bureau. During the 1980’s he was News Director at KFPK in his home town of Los Angeles. He also worked for the Los Angeles based wire and audio news service CNS/RNW. Locally, he has become an award winning journalist covering everything from development and environmental issues to local politics.

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News
12:24 pm
Thu April 19, 2012

Federal Public Defenders Argue Convicted Killer Too Mentally Disabled for Death Penalty

 

     DOVER, Del. (AP) - Federal public defenders trying to halt the execution of convicted Delaware killer Shannon Johnson say there is overwhelming evidence that he is mentally disabled and thus ineligible for execution.

     The public defenders made the assertion in a filing submitted to a federal appeals court in Philadelphia.

     The filing was in response to an appeal by state prosecutors of a federal district judge's decision Wednesday that halted Johnson's scheduled execution early Friday.

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News
12:18 pm
Thu April 19, 2012

Blue Crab Population is Up in the Chesapeake Bay

 

     The Chesapeake Bay’s blue crab population is at its highest level in nearly two decades.

     That’s accord to a wintertime survey which found 764 million blue crabs in the bay --  nearly 66 percent more than last year and the best estimate since 1993.

     And juvenile crabs are at the highest level ever, at 587 million.

     This is the second year in a row for major growth in the blue crab population.

News
12:16 pm
Thu April 19, 2012

DPI Annual Banquet Marks Improvement in Industry

 

          Despite a tough year for profits and a major environmental lawsuit more than 600 farmers and supporters of the poultry industry gathered in Salisbury this week.

         Governor Martin O’Malley headlined the Delmarva Poultry Industry’s 56th annual Booster Banquet..

         The organization’s executive director Bill Satterfield noted that grain prices have leveled off and profits have been inching upward.

News
9:07 am
Thu April 19, 2012

School Uniforms In Somerset County High Schools by Fall

 

     Somerset County high school students will be required to wear uniforms starting in September after a unanimous vote by the Board of Education.

     A pilot program began in Greenwood and Deal Island, which immediately reported a decreases in discipline problems because uniforms put everyone on equal footing. 

     Since Greenwood was so successful, uniforms were expanded into Princess Anne Elementary and Woodson Elementary in Crisfield. 

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News
9:04 am
Thu April 19, 2012

Perdue Hudson Case Date Set for October

 

       BALTIMORE (AP) - A new court date has been set for Oct. 9 in a poultry pollution lawsuit filed by a University of Maryland environmental law clinic.

     The case was originally scheduled to begin this week but a judge postponed it, encouraging the two sides to reach a settlement. The plaintiffs are suing Hudson Farm and Perdue Farms Inc., claiming that the Salisbury-based poultry company and the Worcester County contract grower are polluting a nearby waterway.

News
9:02 am
Thu April 19, 2012

Fisker Becomes GOP Presidential Target

 

             Fisker Automotive which is planning to build a hybrid car plant in Delaware is getting some flak from Republican president candidate nominee Mitt Romney.

            The GOP hopeful’s president campaign compared Fisker to the bankrupt solar panel maker Solyndra as Fisker laid off more workers in the First State last week.

            Romney called companies like Fisker a failed government investment.

News
9:00 am
Thu April 19, 2012

Maryland Property Tax Rate Holds Steady

 

      ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) - Maryland's property tax will hold stead for now, but Comptroller Peter Franchot is warning about rising debt service obligations in upcoming years.

     The Board of Public Works on Wednesday held the state property tax to 11.2 cents per $100 of assessed property value.

     But Franchot noted that debt service obligations will increase in the next several years to $1.4 billion. He says it's important the state keep that in mind.

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News
8:58 am
Thu April 19, 2012

Report on How Crabs Did During Winter Months Out Today

 

      RIVA, Md. (AP) - Crabs in the Chesapeake Bay had an easier winter this year than last when cold killed off nearly a third of them.

     But while the winter was warmer, it followed two major fall storms that dumped tons of trash, mud and sediments into the bay.

     Answers to how the weather has treated the bay's biggest money maker are expected to be released Thursday at a crab house in Riva, where Gov. Martin O'Malley is to make an announcement about the crab fishery.

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News
12:13 pm
Wed April 18, 2012

Johnson Execution Delayed by Judge

 

       Friday’s execution of convicted killer Shannon Johnson has been delayed by a federal judge despite his wishes that no further appeals be made on his behalf.

       U.S. Chief District Judge Gregory Sleet issued the order this morning to give himself more time to review the appeal by the Federal Public Defender’s office seeking to halt the lethal injection sentence. 

       Delaware state prosecutors and Johnson’s attorney both objected and raised questions about the last-minute filing by federal defenders.

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News
8:48 am
Wed April 18, 2012

Budget Dooms Day Clock To be Unveiled in Annapolis

 

     ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) - Maryland state employees will be unveiling a "Doomsday Clock" to count down when a half a billion in budget cuts will take effect, unless a special session is called to change the budget.

     The Maryland State Education Association is planning to show the clock on Wednesday at its Annapolis office.

     MSEA says an educator, a member of the police department, librarian a parole and probation officer and others will attend the event.

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News
8:45 am
Wed April 18, 2012

Mayor Proposes Hike in Property Tax

 

             Salisbury residents could be hit with a 1.5 percent hike in their property taxes after four years of holding the line on such an increase.

            That’s the issue facing the city as Mayor Jim Ireton rolled out his 2013 budget plan this week.

            The Mayor says the increase is needed in light of the decline of $1.7 million in property tax revenues since 2010 because of a $221 million drop in property assessments.

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News
8:43 am
Wed April 18, 2012

Wicomico County Faces Budget Shortfall

 

           The Wicomico County Council voted yesterday unanimously to hike the local income tax rate from 3.1 percent to 3.2 percent the maximum allowed by law.

            But, the legislative body put its budget on hold for the next two weeks after the County Council was told that there would be a $14 million spending mandate from the state.

            The Salisbury Daily Times reports the County’s top financial officer told the Council that this was double what they had anticipated from Annapolis for funding the Maintenance of Effort for the public schools.

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News
8:37 am
Wed April 18, 2012

Berlin Residents Could Get Break On Property Taxes

 

           Property owners in Berlin could see a 5 cent cut in their tax rates under the budget proposed by Mayor Gee Williams.

            He wants to cut the tax rate from 73 cents to 68 cents per $100 of assessed property value.

            The Salisbury Daily Times reports that the reduction would mean around $100 less in property taxes for the average Berlin resident.

            Williams says the proposed cut was possible for the third year in a row because the town has a budget surplus of more than a half-a-million dollars.

News
8:35 am
Wed April 18, 2012

Layoff Notices Sent Out To Be Sent Out by Christina School District

 

 

          More than a dozen elementary school teachers are expected to get layoff notices from the Christina School District as a result of the staffing changes at Bancroft Elementary School.

            It was a close 4-to-3 vote by the Board of Education.

            Board member Elizabeth Scheinberg, who opposed the decision, said she was concerned that the district will struggle to find qualified candidates to fill open positions at Bancroft.

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News
8:32 am
Wed April 18, 2012

Delaware Work Release Inmates Oppose Cuts in DART Bus Service

 

          Women inmates at a work-release center near New Castle may have a more difficult time getting to their jobs. The Delaware Transit Corporation wants to cut the number of trips from the DART First State bus system from 12 to 8 a day because of low ridership. 

            That would mean a five hour midday gap with no buses.

            The state Department of Correction , the Delaware Commission for Women and the inmates themselves are urging DART not to cut the service.

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News
8:45 am
Tue April 17, 2012

Chesapeake Bay Gets a D+ on its Environmental Report Card

 

  

      BALTIMORE (AP) - Heavy rains and a hot summer damged the Chesapeake Bay's environmental record last year.

     The University of Maryland's Center for Environmental Science gave the bay a D+ on Tuesday in its latest report card on the state of the bay.

     The grade is the second lowest since assessments began in 1986. The worst year for bay health was 2003.

     The center says heavy spring and fall rains washed pollutions and sediments in to the bay, and a hot dry summer spurred algae blooms that lower oxygen levels.

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News
8:43 am
Tue April 17, 2012

Burn Bans Across Lower Shore in Face of Drought

 

            Extreme drought conditions have led Lower Shore Counties to impose burn bans.

            Wicomico County Executive Rick Pollitt says he expects to seek an indefinite extension of the seven day ban already in place.

            Meanwhile, Somerset, Worcester and Dorchester Counties have also imposed burn bans.

            Worcester County Fire Marshall Jeff McMahon…said that the ban should do a lot to reduce the number of out-of-control outside fires.

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News
8:31 am
Tue April 17, 2012

Fisker Layoffs at Newark Plant

 

            Another dozen workers have been laid off at the Fisker Automotive plant in Newark that has been backed by federal and state money to build hybrid-electric cars.

            The layoffs took place on Friday and come as the company continues closed door talks with the US Department of Energy for a loan that could decide if Fisker ever builds a car in the First State.

            Company spokesman Russell Datz told the Wilmington News Journal that Fisker is employing only a small maintenance team to protect the facility.

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News
8:29 am
Tue April 17, 2012

Public Gets Chance to Weigh in on Changes at Crisfield High

 

          The public will get another chance to weigh in on a plan to restructure Crisfield High School after it was approved last month by the Somerset County Board of Education.

            Superintendent Marjorie Miles told the Salisbury Daily Times that this is being done…because some residents called Maryland state officials telling them they did not feel…they had enough input.

            The Maryland State Department of Education also wants to clear up some aspects of the plan such as the class schedule for the next school year.

News
8:27 am
Tue April 17, 2012

Natural Gas Power Plant in Dover Gets Okay From Planning Commission

 

 

          Dover’s Planning Commission has given the green light for a plan to build a state-of-the-art natural gas power plant.

            The vote was unanimous.

            The facility will be built on city land by Houston-based power firm Calpine Corporation.

            The plan calls for the construction of two 309-megawatt combined-cycle natural gas generators in two phases.

            It will be capable of powering some 180-thousand homes and is expected to be completed by the middle of 2015.

News
8:25 am
Tue April 17, 2012

Shoring Up the Budget of the Salisbury City Attorney

 

            The Salisbury City Attorney’s office is expected to get a $100-thousand boost to its budget.

            Council member Laura Mitchell told the Salisbury Daily Times that the money will be needed to deal with the work that is left to be done.

            Currently, the City Attorney’s budget was $170-thousand with only $97-hundred remaining in the last three months of the fiscal year.

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News
8:25 am
Mon April 16, 2012

Redistricting Up for Discussion Before Salisbury City Council

 

            The Salisbury City Council will take up proposed redistricting plans this evening during its work session.

            The American Civil Liberties Union has threatened that the city could face litigation.

            Last week, the Council told the City Attorney to work with the ACLU on the issue.

            Meredith Curtis, with the ACLU, told the Salisbury Daily Times that the organization would not go beyond saying that they are in discussions with the city.

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News
8:23 am
Mon April 16, 2012

Drought Prompts Water Conservation Warning for Eastern Shore

 

     BALTIMORE (AP) - Maryland's Department of the Environment is encouraging residents on most of the Eastern Shore to conserve water because of a lack of rainfall in recent months.

     The department issued a drought watch on Friday for all of the Eastern Shore except for Cecil County. MDE says rainfall in the region for the first three months of the year has been about 60 percent of normal. During a drought watch, the department says it increases monitoring of water supplies as well as encouraging conservation.

News
8:13 am
Mon April 16, 2012

Execution Delay Appeal in Shannon Johnson Murder Case

 

            The Delaware Federal Public Defender’s Office is trying to stop the Friday execution of convicted killer Shannon Johnson.

            He has waived all appeals paving the way for his lethal injection sentence.

            But in its third attempt to stop the execution the Public Defender’s office filed an 88 page brief with the US District Court.

            It argues that despite a lengthy competency hearing Johnson is not competent to waive his appeals.

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News
7:59 am
Mon April 16, 2012

Safe Haven Animal Shelter Seeks Expansion in Sussex County

 

           The Safe Haven Animal Sanctuary in Georgetown is looking to expand the first no-kill animal shelter in Sussex County.

            The 13-thousand-square-foot shelter is located on a 13-acre site along  Shingle Point Road.

            It is competing for the animal-control contract with Sussex County to round up stray dogs and inspect kennels throughout the county.

            The contract is worth $600-thousand and is currently held by the Kent County Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

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News
12:12 pm
Fri April 13, 2012

Mail Box Explosion in Middletown

 

           Delaware state fire marshals are investigating a mail box explosion in Middletown.

            Authorities say they are asking the public for information on yesterday’s blast in the 100 block of Saint Augustine Court.

            The Wilmington News Journal reports that the homeowner found the damaged mail box at around 2 pm.

            Damage was estimated at $200.

News
11:33 am
Fri April 13, 2012

Expansion of Captain John Smith Geotrail

 

             The National Park Service says the popular Captain John Smith Geotrail is expanding on the Lower Eastern Shore.

            The agency is now providing eleven more areas for – what’s called – geocaching which is a type of treasure hunt in which participants use hand-held GPS devices to plot map coordinates to find a hidden cache.

            These new areas will run from Pocomoke to the Virginia Eastern Shore National Wildlife Refuge.. with a debut this Saturday at the Historic Onancock School in Virginia

News
11:30 am
Fri April 13, 2012

O'Malley Accepts Some Blame for Budget Impasse

 

      ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) - Gov. Martin O'Malley says he accepts part of the blame for the breakdown that led to $512 million in cuts instead of new tax revenues and alternative savings in state spending.

     O'Malley, who spoke on WTOP Thursday, said "we all hold blame," referring to himself and Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller and House Speaker Michael Busch.

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News
11:28 am
Fri April 13, 2012

LaFlerla Concedes in Congressional Democratic Primary for Maryland First District

 

            The Democratic Primary race for Maryland’s First Congressional district is finally over.

            Dr. John LaFerla, a Chestertown physician, has conceded to businesswoman Wendy Rosen.

            In an email LaFerla told supporters that he did not believe he could regain the lead in the vote count. 

            Rosen leads LaFlerla by 82 votes with a third and final absentee ballot count still set for Friday.

News
11:23 am
Fri April 13, 2012

Staggered Elections In Salisbury Could End

 

            The Salisbury City Council has agreed to end staggered municipal elections.

            Council President Terry Cohen said that while the practice provided for continuity many voters felt it was just a form of – what she called -- re-election.

            The Salisbury Daly Times reports that eliminating the staggered voting would provide…elections for the Mayor’s office and all 5 Council seats every four years.

            The next municipal election is set for April of next year.

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