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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DOVER, Del. (AP) - Members of the General Assembly's budget-writing committee are ready to begin delving into Gov. Jack Markell's proposed $4.1 billion operating budget for the upcoming fiscal year.

The Joint Finance Committee was to convene Tuesday to begin a monthlong series of hearings and discussion on individual agency budget requests for fiscal 2017, which starts July 1.

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DOVER, Del. (AP) - Kent County Levy Court is pushing to eliminate the last remaining county comptroller position.

The Delaware State News reports the court is looking to eliminate the position before its current term ends in 2017.

County commissioners believe the position is now obsolete. Commissioner George "Jody" Sweeney says the county would save about $150,000 to $155,000 per year if the position is eliminated.

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A former Maryland judge has pleaded guilty to a civil rights violation for ordering a defendant to be physically shocked in his courtroom.

Robert Nalley of La Plata, Maryland, pleaded guilty in federal court in Maryland on Monday. According to a statement of facts he agreed to, Nalley was presiding over a criminal trial for a man in July 2014 when the incident happened.

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DOVER, Del. (AP) - The Delaware Division of Fish and Wildlife is relaxing some restrictions on waterfowl hunting for a special snow goose season.

The season runs Monday through Friday, and then reopens Feb. 8 through April 9. It's intended to reduce the burgeoning population of greater snow geese causing damage to wetlands and farm fields.

During the special season, hunters can load their shotguns with more than three shells and use electronic calls to attract geese - measures that are usually prohibited.

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A solar power developer has plans for a 6 mega-watt commercial site on Plantation Road just northeast of Crisfield.

The project by OneEnergy Renewables would provide enough electricity for more than a 1-thousand homes from more than 21-thousand solar panels.  

The Salisbury Daily Times reports that the Maryland Public Service Commission has set a hearing for Wednesday in Princess Anne for public comment.   

In addition, the Somerset County planning commission will also have to give its okay.

A final decision is expected by Marth 11th for $17 million project.

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The Zika virus just got a bit closer.

A student at Virginia’s College of William and Mary came down with the virus over the winter break.

The Salisbury Daily Times reports that the university said the student is expected to recover and is not experiencing any symptoms.

In addition, officials said there was no danger to anyone on campus.

The Zika virus has been spreading across Central and South America through the mosquito population.

It causes fever, rash, joint pain and conjunctivitis.

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RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - The U.S. Supreme Court will soon hear arguments in the case over Virginia's congressional map.

The Richmond Times-Dispatch reports that arguments before the high court have been set for March 21.

The court has agreed to take up an appeal by Republicans in Virginia's congressional delegation. They're asking the court to reverse a decision by a three-judge panel that said lawmakers in 2012 illegally packed too many black voters into the 3rd Congressional District.

Virginia Republican Website

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - Republican Party leaders in Virginia will ask the state to cancel a required party affiliation statement for the March 1 GOP presidential primary.

The Virginian-Pilot reports leaders voted on the issue Saturday. GOP state central committee member Roger Miles says leaders are halting their plans because of "bad publicity."

At the party's request, state elections officials were requiring all GOP primary voters to sign a statement affirming "I am a Republican" before being allowed to cast a ballot.     

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Around a hundred gathered at the Silverside Church in Brandywine Hundred to address Islamophobia.

June Eisley, one of the organizers, told the Wilmington News Journal that “People hate for no reason.”

There were four Muslims who spoke at the gathering entitled, “Rising Islamophobia: What It’s Like to be a Muslim in America Today.”

Timmie Mirza, a senior accountant at the University of Delaware, told the gathering that when she began to wear her hijab to work she was greeted with great respect for her religious decision.

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DOVER, Del. (AP) - The number of Delaware residents carrying legally concealed deadly weapons has increased.

The Delaware State News reports concealed carry permits jumped 56 percent from 2014 to 2015.

How or if those weapons are ever used remains unclear.

Delaware Department of Justice spokesman Carl Kanefsky says they don't have researchable data on permitted concealed deadly weapons involved in any matters, and don't recall any issues either. Dover police say there have been no investigations into how a legally concealed weapon was handled during an incident.

Maryland State Police Polar Bear Plunge website

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) - The 20th annual Polar Bear Plunge was held in Maryland. Nearly 10,000 people jumped into the chilly waters of the Chesapeake Bay on Saturday for the Maryland State Police Polar Bear Plunge.

The event benefits Special Olympics Maryland and its year-round programs.

Most participants raise $75 each for a plunge in the water at Sandy Point State Park. But some "super plungers" raise thousands of dollars to jump in the frigid water multiple times. So far this year the Plunge has raised over $1.5 million according to the organization's website.

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RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - Democrats challenging Virginia's voter ID law say they have so many witnesses lined up they need the trial extended by another week.

The plaintiffs filed a motion Thursday asking a federal judge in Richmond to schedule two weeks for the trial. A one-week trial is currently set to begin Feb. 22.

Virginia law requires voters to show a photo ID at the polls. Democrats claim the law is unconstitutional because it suppresses voting rights, especially for young and minority voters.

Essay: Remembrance

Jan 29, 2016
Adam Shaw

Delamrva Public Radio Essayist George Merrill noticed a Hackberry tree outside his house. And he contemplates the meaning of those things that we lose.

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There was a bomb threat at Ocean City’s Public Safety building which was briefly evacuated yesterday.

The Salisbury Daily Times reports that Ocean City police say it came in the form of a tweet that went out around 6:30 p.m. last night.

Police said the building was found to be safe and the employees returned to work after the brief evacuation.

Delaware

Two bomb threats were called into the Dover and the Smryna Police departments yesterday.

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DOVER, Del. (AP) - Proponents of a defeated measure to abolish Delaware's death penalty say they'll continue fighting until capital punishment is outlawed.

The legislation failed Thursday in the state House, getting 16 of the 21 votes needed for passage. Twenty-three lawmakers voted against the bill, which cleared the Senate last year by a single vote.

Supporters said they would try to resurrect the measure after a five-week break for budget meetings.

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The battle over Maryland Governor Larry Hogan's $42 billion budget is about to begin in Annapolis as Democrats vow to ensure their priorities are represented in the final document. Delmarva Public Radio's Don Rush spoke with Anjali Shastry with the Washington Times who has been covering the opening gambits on the budget.

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There may not be a snow storm this weekend but forecasters are predicting high winds at the beaches along the Delaware coast.

The Wilmington News Journal reports that there could be some power outages in the southern portion of the state.

The National Weather Service says offshore gusts could reach as high as 40 mph.

In the aftermath of last weekend’s storms the Delaware National Guard still has trucks in Sussex County and along the beaches.

These include 15 Humvees and six 5-ton trucks.

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This year’s Big Barrel Country Music Festival in Dover is off. 

The organizers gave no reason for the decision to cancel the second annual event that was slated for late June.

They apologized to country music fans calling it a difficult decision.

Tickets will be automatically reimbursed with full refunds including service charges.

WBOC reports that last October the organizers said that Brad Paisley, Sam Hunt and Eric Church were to headline the festival.            

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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.

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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.

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