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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Internal emails obtained by WBOC found that in the aftermath of the uprising at the James T. Vaughn Correctional Center that left one officer dead correctional officers expressed concern about a decision by the acting warden to allow the inmates outdoor recreational time.

In his email acting Warden Phil Parker said that the inmates were getting restless and they should be provided the recreational time with adequate security precautions.

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The sudden cardiac death of Amy Joyner-Francis after a fight in a bathroom at the Howard High School of Technology could not have been predicted.

That was the testimony of a pediatric cardiologist yesterday during the trial of three teenagers involved in the altercation.

The three are being tried as juveniles with one facing negligent homicide charges.

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Lawmakers adjourned at midnight Monday before the House could pass a bill to increase the number of licenses for growers of medical marijuana. The House and Senate had differences between the number of licenses to add to the 15 now allowed under the law.

The House had sought to increase the licenses by five, to boost minority-owned businesses after a disparity study. The Senate had pushed for seven more licenses, to help settle lawsuits filed by two companies that were bumped out of the top 15 chosen by a state commission to be finalists.

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ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) - Maryland lawmakers are putting the finishing touches on a legislative session that has been full of measures aimed at countering President Donald Trump and the GOP-led Congress.

The Democrat-led legislature, which adjourns at midnight Monday, has passed legislation aimed at protecting health care from cuts in Washington.

It also has empowered the attorney general to sue the federal government without the governor's permission. And the attorney general will get an extra $1 million a year in future budgets to help pay expenses to do that.

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RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - The number of Virginians applying to enroll in Medicaid was about double during the last three months of 2016 than what state officials expected.

The state's Medicaid office said in a recent report filed to lawmakers that its processing unit had expected about 21,000 applications but instead received more than 41,000 for the publicly finance health care program for the poor. The increase was largely driven by a federal open enrollment period for health insurance.

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WILMINGTON, Del. (AP) - Testimony is set to resume in the trial of three girls charged in a school bathroom fight that left a 16-year-old Wilmington girl dead.

Attorneys are expected to finish presenting evidence Monday in the trial involving the death of Amy Joyner-Francis after a fight last April at Howard High School of Technology.

An autopsy found that Joyner-Francis, who had a heart condition, died of sudden cardiac death, aggravated by physical and emotional stress from the fight.

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ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) - A Maryland court has rejected an appeal from a Mardela Springs man sentenced to 10 years in prison for killing his uncle during an argument in a watermelon patch.

William Harcum III was convicted by a Wicomico County jury last year of voluntary manslaughter and assault.

On appeal, Harcum argued that there was insufficient evidence to support his convictions because prosecutors failed to prove that he did not act in perfect self-defense.

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WASHINGTON (AP) - Attorney General Jeff Sessions wants to return to some decades-old drug and crime-fighting strategies - even as some involved in criminal justice during that time have come to believe those approaches were not that effective.

Sessions was a federal prosecutor in Mobile, Alabama, at the height of the drug war. He supports mandatory minimum sentences, vigorous gun prosecutions and aggressive policing. He says a spike in violence in some cities shows a need to return to that tough-on-crime approach.

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RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - The Virginia Council of Churches is urging Gov. Terry McAuliffe to halt the execution of an inmate convicted of hiring a man to kill his ex-girlfriend.

The group plans to deliver a letter to McAuliffe Monday asking him to spare 38-year-old Ivan Teleguz's life.

Teleguz is scheduled to be executed on April 25. He was convicted in 2006 of hiring a man to kill Stephanie Sipe in Harrisonburg.

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There will be no more smoking on the beaches or boardwalk of South Bethany Beach.

The town council approved the measure on Friday and it applies to products ranging from cigarettes and cigars to e-cigarettes and vaporizers.

That is anything that can be heated and inhaled.

The Salisbury Daily Times reports that the move is part of a major trend along the Delmarva coastline.

One council member pointed to a survey that found 72 percent of the 14-hundred property owners approved of the ban.

Don Rush

The Maryland legislature has voted to allow craft breweries to sell more beer.

On a vote 119 to 15 lawmakers sent Governor Larry Hogan a bill on Saturday that would increase the annual allowable output from 500 barrels a year to 2-thousand.

The Salisbury Daily Times reports that the measure also allows the breweries to buy another 1-thousand barrels annual from distributors for sale in their taprooms.

The bill also allows them to keep their current hours of operation which had been threatened earlier in the session.

Don Rush

DOVER, Del. (AP) - State lawmakers are seeking to promote agritourism in Delaware by expanding the definition of the word.

State law defines agritourism activity as any activity that allows members of the general public to view or enjoy rural activities, such as farming, boating, picnicking and hiking.

A bill introduced last week expands the list of agritourism activities to include microbreweries, distilleries, rural weddings, farm-oriented miniature golf, petting zoos, mazes, rodeos and other events and attractions.

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There’s a new agreement between Salisbury and Wicomico County for fire and ambulance service.

A study found that there was a gap of around $1.1 million between what the county pays for emergency services and what it cost the city.

The Salisbury Daily Times reports that Mayor Jake Day said the deal gives the city around $400-thousand more in the next fiscal year.

The rate for the new agreement is $300 per fire call and just over $400 for an ambulance transports a patient to a hospital.

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DOVER, Del. (AP) - Democratic Gov. John Carney is continuing a series of community meetings to talk to Delawareans about the state's budget challenges.

Carney is scheduled to join Republican state Rep. Lyndon Yearick for a "budget reset" community conversation Monday evening in Camden.

A similar community meeting is scheduled for Tuesday morning in Middletown with Republican Rep. Kevin Hensley.

Carney has proposed a mix of tax increases and spending cuts to balance a budget for the fiscal year starting July 1.

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ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) - Maryland lawmakers have approved a measure tightening state ethics laws.

Gov. Larry Hogan, who proposed the bill, praised the legislature on Saturday for working in a bipartisan fashion. The Republican governor says he looks forward to signing the bill.

The measure increases financial disclosure requirements for state elected officials, state public officials and lobbyists. It also expands the definition of a conflict of interest.

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BALTIMORE (AP) - Justice Department records show that Maryland authorities are not taking advantage of federal funding under a nationwide initiative to help states address backlogs of untested rape kits.

The Baltimore Sun reports that records obtained under the Freedom of Information Act show that only Baltimore County applied for federal funding under the Sexual Assault Kit Initiative, and its request was rejected.

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Senator Ben Cardin praised the U.S. missile strike on a Syrian air base believed to have been used for the chemical air strike that left at least 70 people dead.

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There’s a new sports complex coming to Wicomico County in the next few months.

The 60 acre site of the Mid Atlantic Youth Sportsplex will be located just outside of Pittsville near Route 50.

The facility will feature soccer, field hockey and lacrosse.

But it will not cater to softball.

Local businessman John Barrett told WBOC that it look to host tournaments in these sports but added that softball was not among.

He said that the region has plenty of softball fields.

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We take for grant the grass that grows around us. And, Delmarva Public Radio Essayist George Merrill writes that all it requires is a space of its own.

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BALTIMORE (AP) - An attorney for the U.S. Justice Department says the agency has "grave concerns" about a proposed agreement to overhaul the Baltimore Police Department.

Justice Department attorney John Gore told a judge Thursday at a public hearing that newly minted Attorney General Jeff Sessions is concerned about the agreement and "whether it will achieve the goals of public safety and law enforcement while at the same time protecting civil rights."

Baltimore residents overwhelmingly voiced support for a proposed overhaul.

Don Rush

It may be a blip but the Wicomico River has the highest levels of fecal bacteria in its recorded history and algae has made a comeback.

That was the conclusion of a report by the environmental group Wicomico Creekwatchers.

Given the rainy season last year it is believed to be a onetime event.

Judith Stribling, a biology professor at Salisbury University and with the Creekwatchers, told the Salisbury Daily Times that wet years always look bad while dry years produce better results.

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PJM has decided to move ahead with the power line project connecting the Artificial Island nuclear power plant with the Red Lion substation that will bring electricity to New Jersey and Delaware.

But the company’s board also voted to get more information on how to allocate the cost of the project.

Delaware officials complained that the state’s residents will pay for 90% of the project but only receive 10% of its benefits.

The company says Delaware customers would only get hit with 60% of the cost.

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NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (AP) - Federal budget gridlock could negatively impact Navy personnel in the Hampton Roads region.  

The Daily Press in Newport News reports that Congress faces an April 28 deadline to approve new spending. Even if lawmakers agree to keep funding at 2016 levels, the military would still come up short.

Military officials say there would be less money for pay raises, housing allowances and other cost-of-living adjustments. Ship maintenance would also drop. Stress on sailors would ratchet up.  

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RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - A new law in Virginia will ensure that sexual assault victims are notified when the state completes the analysis of their rape kit.

The bill backed by Attorney General Mark Herring requires law enforcement to contact victims or their family members when they finish testing a PERK kit. Victims will also be able to get any law-enforcement analysis of the kit.

The new law was one two measures Gov. Terry McAuliffe highlighted during a ceremonial bill signing on Thursday. The Democratic governor signed the bills into law last month.

Don Rush

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) - A measure to require Maryland's five largest electric utilities to provide customers with energy-efficiency programs and services to cut energy consumption by 2 percent a year has been enacted.

It's one of 15 bills that went into law Thursday, after Gov. Larry Hogan decided not to veto or sign them before a midnight deadline.

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ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) - The Maryland General Assembly has overridden Gov. Larry Hogan's veto of Maryland's blueprint for identifying and assisting struggling schools.

The Senate voted 32-15 Thursday for the override. The House voted 90-50 for it earlier in the day

Supporters say the bill takes a creative approach to provide a big-picture view of how schools succeed and protects public schools from privatization.

Hogan and other Republicans who oppose the bill say it's too lax on academic performance standards and makes it difficult to fix struggling schools.

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ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) - Maryland has become the first state to enact legislation to mitigate any federal cuts to Planned Parenthood.

The measure was enacted Thursday after Gov. Larry Hogan decided not to veto the bill. Like 14 other bills, it went into effect after a midnight deadline without the Republican governor's signature. The Democrat-led Legislature passed the bill with enough votes to override a veto.

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DOVER, Del. (AP) - Firefly Music Festival promoters are holding a competition for regional performing acts, with the winner to grace the festival stage.

WXDE-FM reports promoter Red Frog Events and REC Philly, have created the Big Break Live competition. It's open to acts within a 150-mile radius of the festival, taking place at The Woodlands at Dover International Speedway from June 15 to 18.

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BALTIMORE (AP) - An attorney for the city of Baltimore says it is ready and willing to enter into a court-enforceable agreement to implement sweeping reforms to the city's troubled police department.

Baltimore's solicitor David Ralph said at a public hearing on Thursday that when the city, police department and federal government negotiated the plan, it was designed to fight crime and protect civil rights.

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There were around a half a dozen arrests at James M. Bennett High School yesterday in the wake of several fights on campus.

Wicomico County Sheriff Mike Lewis told the Salisbury Daily Times that more arrests were expected.

The paper reports that there were multiple fights that included six to eight students punching throwing the punches.

The incident began sometime around 10:30 a.m. with two students attacking another classmate.

The school’s security officer eventually stopped the fight but not before others joined in.

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