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.

Don Rush

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - Virginia law enforcement officials will be on the lookout for drunken drivers this holiday weekend.

Officials say law enforcement members in the state will conduct about 140 sobriety checkpoints over Labor Day weekend. They will also be performing 530 saturation patrols, which are concentrated enforcement efforts aimed at cracking down on impaired driving.

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The Patricia Guerrieri Academic Commons on the campus of Salisbury University officially opened yesterday.

It now become the biggest structure on the campus with 221-thousand square feet.

Featuring the school’s library University President Janet Dudley-Eshbach said she wanted this facility to be a place where students could gather, study and learn.

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BALTIMORE (AP) - School administrators across Maryland are ripping up their calendars for next year and considering shortening spring break in order to meet the requirements of Gov. Larry Hogan's new executive order to start future school years after Labor Day.

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ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) - The chairman of Maryland's medical marijuana commission says the panel is committed to promoting racial diversity in the state's developing medical marijuana industry.

Dr. Paul Davies wrote Thursday the panel will work with the legislature on the issue.

Critics have noted a lack of diversity in applicants selected as finalists to grow and process marijuana. They say the law required the commission to "actively seek to achieve" racial, ethnic and geographic diversity.

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HAGERSTOWN, Md. (AP) - The Maryland Emergency Management Agency says the federal government will reimburse Maryland state and local governments $25.4 million to cover most of their costs related to a January snowstorm.

Spokesman Ed McDonough said in an email Thursday that the Federal Emergency Management Agency has paid about $4 million to date.

The payments follow a presidential disaster declaration in March for the storm Jan. 22-23 that buried the state in up to 38.5 inches of snow.

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RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - Virginia's Senate Majority Leader says he will introduce a constitutional amendment to automatically restore voting rights for some felons, and set new barriers for others.

Republican Thomas K. Norment's announcement Thursday is the latest salvo fired in the battle between the GOP and Democratic Gov. Terry McAuliffe over restoring voting rights for felons.

The Richmond Times-Dispatch reports that Norment's proposal would automatically restore voting rights for some non-violent felons. It would also permanently bar violent felons from voting.

Don Rush

Across Delmarva the poultry houses have gotten bigger and they have found new neighbors. In Somerset County the situation found local residents up in arms and pitted against the poultry industry. Delmarva Public Radio's Don Rush has a look the story in part 2 of our series on the emergence of the large chicken houses. 

This year’s Skipjack races will be minus one participant.

The 57th annual event on Labor Day will be missing the famed City of Crisfield and its captain Daddy Art Daniels.

The Salisbury Daily Times reports that the Skipjack is in dry dock with efforts underway to refurbish the famous vessel.

The paper reports that Daniels is in an assisted living facility in Crisfield.

The Reverend Bob Daniels told the paper that the family is seeking funds to help restore the ship and hopes that one of their number will take up command in the future.

Don Rush

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) - Gov. Larry Hogan signed an executive order Wednesday to start Maryland public schools after Labor Day.

As he stood on the boardwalk in Ocean City Hogan said that this would help extend the tourist season for Marylanders and local businesses.

In addition, he said that it would help schools avoid the hot weather of August – especially for those without air conditioning and would save on energy costs.

The change is set to take effect next year. It requires public schools to complete the 180 days required under state law.

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DOVER, Del. (AP) - Delaware prison officials have reached a tentative settlement in a federal lawsuit alleging that mentally ill prisoners have been subjected to solitary confinement without proper evaluation, monitoring and treatment.

As part of the settlement, the Department of Correction has agreed to undertake steps to better classify, track and care for prisoners with mental health issues and in restrictive housing. Prison officials also have agreed to create a special needs unit at the women's prison in New Castle.

Don Rush

DENTON, Md. (AP) - The mayor of a tiny Eastern Shore town has been accused of stealing more than $61,000 in town funds.

The office of the state prosecutor said in a news release that Marydel Mayor Deborah Rowe was indicted by a Caroline County grand jury Wednesday on charges of theft, misconduct in office and forgery.

Census records show Marydel has a population of about 150.

The Easton Star Democrat reports that Rowe is accused of using the money to pay taxes on personal property in North Carolina, cable and cellphone bills, and rooms at an Ocean City hotel.

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RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe is asking his administration's agency heads to suggest where to cut state spending to help bridge an estimated $1.5 billion budget gap.

The Virginian-Pilot reports that McAuliffe's chief of staff, Paul Reagan, sent a memo to agency heads asking them to submit proposal of how to cut spending by 5 percent.

The proposals are due Sept. 20.

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BERLIN, Md. (AP) - The National Park Service says a Pennsylvania man has drowned off the Maryland coast of Assateague Island National Seashore.

Park Service spokeswoman Liz Davis tells local media that 45-year-old Charles Poole of Trappe, Pennsylvania, was swimming with his teenage son at an unguarded part of the beach on Tuesday afternoon.

Davis says surfers found Poole unresponsive in the water and brought him ashore. Lifeguards performed CPR, but Davis says Poole was pronounced dead at a hospital in Berlin, Maryland. His son was not injured.

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RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - A federal appeals court has denied an imprisoned former Virginia lawmaker's bid to file a new appeal in light of the Supreme Court ruling in ex-Gov. Bob McDonnell's case.

The 4th Circuit Court of Appeals didn't say in its order why it was rejecting Phil Hamilton's request for permission to file a new application for relief.

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RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - Virginia Republicans are trying to block Gov. Terry McAuliffe's latest effort to restore voting rights to thousands of felons who've completed their sentences.

Top Republican lawmakers say in a contempt motion filed Wednesday that McAuliffe is violating the Virginia Supreme Court's order that he restore the rights on a case-by-case basis.

The court in July invalidated McAuliffe's sweeping executive order to restore the rights of more than 200,000 felons who completed their sentences.

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RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - Several gun rights advocates are criticizing Gov. Terry McAuliffe's move to ban concealed handguns in state-owned office buildings.

Advocates a public hearing Wednesday in Richmond said the governor's executive order is making the state less safe and more vulnerable to a mass shooting.

McAuliffe issued an executive order last year banning the open carry and concealed carry of guns in most state-owned office buildings, saying the move was necessary to prevent gun-related violence.

Don Rush

Large poultry houses have been appearing of the Delmarva Peninsula in recent years often creating a backlash  by local residents. In part one of our series Delmarva Public Radio's Don Rush takes a look at why there has been a change in industry.

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ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) - Gov. Larry Hogan and Comptroller Peter Franchot will be in Ocean City to make an announcement about the starting date of Maryland schools in future years.

A news conference is scheduled for Wednesday. The governor declined to discuss details about the announcement when asked Tuesday, and a spokesman for the comptroller also wouldn't elaborate. However, both officials have supported starting school after Labor Day.

Franchot released a YouTube video on Monday with Ocean City Mayor Rick Meehan talking about the positive aspects of a later school start.

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ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) - Gov. Larry Hogan has announced a $5 million study to explore a potential new Chesapeake Bay crossing.

Hogan said Tuesday the Maryland Transportation Authority Board voted last week for the Tier 1 National Environmental Policy Act study.

The study will begin this fall and take up to four years to finish. It will identify the location of a crossing and possible funding options.

The study will involve issues ranging from traffic and engineering to environmental questions and potential costs.

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The mystery of the brief suspension of the Cambridge Police chief has finally come to light.

Chief Daniel Dvorak was placed on administrative leave last Thursday and then reinstated the following Tuesday.

WBOC reports that the chief issued a statement in which he said there had been some question about equipment in his possession.

After being placed on administrative leave the chief was able to get a statement from the Newport Police Department that he was authorized to have the equipment.

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WILMINGTON, Del. (AP) - Texting or otherwise using a hand-held phone while driving is not only dangerous, but it's also about to become more expensive if you get caught.

A bill being signed Wednesday by Gov. Jack Markell increases the penalty for a first offense of texting behind the wheel from $50 to $100. It also increases the penalty for subsequent offenses from between $100 and $200 to between $200 and $300.

Don Rush

DOVER, Del. (AP) - Delaware's Department of Transportation has received a $1.49 million federal grant for a pilot study regarding the feasibility of charging drivers a mileage-based user fee to help pay for road projects.

The Federal Highway Administration on Tuesday announced $14.2 million in grants for several states to explore alternative revenue mechanisms to help sustain the long-term solvency of the Highway Trust Fund.

Don Rush

WASHINGTON (AP) - The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has awarded $800,000 to Maryland to help restore the Chesapeake Bay's oyster population.

Sens. Barbara Mikulski and Ben Cardin announced the award in a news release Tuesday.

The award to the Maryland Department of Natural Resources will go to producing and planting 1.5 billion hatchery seeds in three years.

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DOVER, Del. (AP) - A church outside Dover wants to build a village of 15 tiny houses in an effort to help Dover's homeless population.

The Wilmington News Journal reports that the houses would be rented for $200 to $300 a month to people who have jobs but can't afford a home. The project is being led by Victory Church and a nonprofit called Port Hope of Delaware.

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PORTSMOUTH, Va. (AP) - A Virginia prosecutor says she has asked Virginia State Police for additional investigative work into the death of a mentally ill inmate at a Portsmouth jail last year.

Portsmouth Commonwealth's Attorney Stephanie Morales' office says it received a preliminary report Tuesday from Virginia State Police, which is conducting a criminal investigation into Jamycheal Mitchell's death.

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RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - A consumer group wants electric utility Dominion Virginia Power to get explicit approval from state regulators before it spends any more money prepping for a potential new $19 billion nuclear plant.

The Virginia Citizens Consumer Council filed a motion Tuesday arguing that Dominion is currently in violation of state law because it's started doing preliminary construction on a new nuclear plant, known as North Anna 3, without permission from state regulators.

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HAGERSTOWN, Md. (AP) - A battlefield preservation group is raising funds to protect 84 acres at three Civil War sites in western Maryland and West Virginia.

Spokeswoman Meg Martin said Monday the Civil War Trust aims to raise about $413,000 by year's end to match about $1.1 million in mostly public funds.

The targets are nine acres at the Antietam National Battlefield, 65 at Maryland's South Mountain State Battlefield and 10 acres near Shepherdstown, West Virginia.

The Antietam parcel is near the Dunker Church landmark.

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TOWSON, Md. (AP) - The Baltimore County Board of Education has amended a policy that required dozens of schools without air conditioning to close for two days already this school year.

Local media outlets report that the board voted Tuesday night to close schools without air conditioning if the heat index is forecast to reach 90 degrees by 11 a.m.

The former policy required the district to close the non-air-conditioned schools if the heat index was forecast to reach 90 at any time during the school day.

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The disputed outcome of the White Marlin Open goes to court with 13 men up for the potential prize of $2.8 million.

After tournament officials concluded that the captain of the winning boat had been found deceptive by a polygraph test they withheld the money.

Instead, the Salisbury Daily Times reports that they have asked a circuit court judge to examine the evidence and determine who should get what.

Among determinations the judge will decide whether Captain Philip Heasly indeed did lie about violating the tournament rules.

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BALTIMORE (AP) - Baltimore's public defender's office is asking the police department to suspend its use of a private plane that had until last week been flying above the city streets recording aerial surveillance without the public's knowledge.

Baltimore Deputy Public Defender Natalie Finegar sent Commissioner Kevin Davis and State's Attorney Marilyn Mosby a copy of the written request Monday.

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