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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Five more correctional officers have quit their jobs and Maj. Jeffrey Carrothers the security superintendent at the James T. Vaughn Correctional Center has been reassigned.

It comes nearly four weeks after an inmate uprising that left one officer dead.

WBOC reports that the Department of Correction says that brought the total number of resignations since the uprising to 13 – 10 of whom worked at the prison.

The department also says that there have been 12 officers who have either retired or put in their papers to do so.

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Voters in the Colonial School District turned down a measure that would have produced nearly $11 million in annual tax revenue.

They also said no to the issuance of $4.7 million in bonds for improving school security.

The Wilmington New Journal reports that nearly 3-thousand people voted against the tax measure while around 2-thousand supported it.

When it came to the bond issue around 27-hundred voted against it while 21-hundred supported the measure.

The tax measure would have represented an increase of 39.4 cents for $100 of assessed property value.

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ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) - The Maryland House of Delegates has approved a bill to limit school testing to 2 percent of the annual school year.

The bill passed 139-0 on Tuesday. The measure now goes to the Senate, where a similar bill is pending with 31 co-sponsors out of the Senate's 47 members.

It would limit all district, state and federal mandated tests to 21.6 hours in elementary and middle schools and 23.6 hours in high schools.

The bill also would put teachers and parents at the table when decisions are made about changes to district testing.

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ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) - Maryland health care advocates are highlighting the need for a new state commission to monitor potential changes to the Affordable Care Act.
    
They are scheduled to gather Wednesday before a hearing on the Maryland Health Insurance Coverage Protection Act.
    
It is part of a package of bills that Democrats are backing out of concern for how policies supported by President Donald Trump and the Republican-led Congress could hurt Maryland.
    

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BALTIMORE (AP) - The National Aquarium says its oldest Atlantic bottlenose dolphin has died.

The aquarium said in a statement Tuesday that 44-year-old Nani exhibited unusual behavior on Monday and died that evening despite emergency care from the animal care team. The aquarium says veterinarians are trying to determine the cause of death.

Aquarium officials say dolphins in human care often live to 30 years and older.

Nani, who was born in the wild, was the matriarch of the aquarium's colony. She came to Baltimore in 1990 from another institution that closed.

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ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) - Electronic guns, such as Tasers, can now legally be carried in Annapolis.

The Capital of Annapolis reports the Annapolis City Council unanimously voted Monday to repeal the city's ban against the weaponry. The decision comes after the Supreme Court in March questioned the constitutionality of stun gun bans and suggested that Second Amendment protections applied to electronic weapons.

Gun rights activists had filed a lawsuit against the city following the ruling.

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DOVER, Del. (AP) - Authorities say a man shot by a Dover police officer two years ago has been arrested on drug charges.

Police say 23-year-old Terrence Fletcher was arrested after a traffic stop Tuesday afternoon and charged with possession of heroin and crack cocaine.

It was not immediately clear whether Fletcher has an attorney.

The shooting of Fletcher, who is black, by a white officer in 2015 led to racial tensions in the community.

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NORFOLK, Va. (AP) - All Virginia day care workers will have to undergo fingerprinting for a criminal background check after state lawmakers passed a bill intended to make sure the state doesn't lose out on federal funding.

The Virginian-Pilot reports child care providers will have to undergo the fingerprinting by the end of September. Previously, workers at churches and small, home-based centers not licensed by the state weren't included in the requirement.

Supporters said the change brings child care protections up to speed, but opponents called it government overreach.

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CHESAPEAKE, Va. (AP) - A lucky lottery ticket winner is running out of time to claim his or her $1 million prize.

Local news media outlets report that a $1 million winning ticket was sold at a Chesapeake 7-Eleven store in September.

Lottery officials say the winner has until 5 p.m. on March 15 to claim the prize or the winning ticket will expire. Virginia lottery tickets must be claimed within 180 days after a drawing.

If the winner doesn't come forward, the money will go into Virginia's Literary Fund.

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Another dead whale has washed ashore along the Virginia coastline.

This time the deposed body of a humpback was discovered in the Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge over the weekend.  

It’s the fourth so far this year.

Alexander Costidis with the Virginia Aquarium’s Stranding Response Team told the Salisbury Daily Times that at least some of the local whales appear to be spending considerable time in the Bay’s shipping lanes.  

He added it’s believed there are more whales in the area this year than in the year.

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Senator Ben Cardin blasted the Trump administration on a broad range of foreign policy issues.

They ranged from a failure to take a tough stand on Russia and building a wall along the U.S./Mexico border to trying to impose a travel ban on seven Muslim majority countries.

The Maryland Democrat made his remarks during an appearance at the University of Maryland’s School of Public Policy on the eve of the President’s address to a joint session of congress tonight.

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DELAWARE CITY, Del. (AP) - A state board has dismissed an appeal filed against a project that is going to significantly increase the amount of biofuel being stored at and shipped from a Delaware City refinery.

The Wilmington News Journal reports that the Coastal Zone Industrial Control Board voted 5-1 Monday to toss the case, ruling that the two civic groups who brought the appeal did not show their members would suffer direct harm from the project.

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The Oscars made history this past weekend when Mahershala Ali won for Best Supporting Actor in the film, "Moonlight". He is the first Muslim to win such an award. But, even as his win is celebrated, the atmosphere for Muslim in the United States has become increasingly tense. Delmarva Public Radio's Don Rush spoke with Sandhu Usman, president of the Islamic Society of Central Delaware about his personal experiences.

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Another night, another shooting in Salisbury.

WBOC reports that police were on the scene last night at around 11 p.m. in the area of the West Road Apartment complex on East Road.

The victim was identified as Troy Smiley and was ultimately taken to Baltimore’s Shock Trauma for life-threatening injuries.

The television station says that Smiley was shot in the face.

There are no suspects in the case.

Units from the Maryland State Police, the Wicomico County Sheriff’s Office and the Salisbury Fire Department responded to the shooting.

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A vigil was held last night outside the Dover Police station for two of its members who were killed in a single vehicle accident.

Patrolman Robert DaFonte and Cadet James Watts died after the jeep that DaFante was driving swerved off the road, hit a utility pole and overturned.

Watts was thrown from the car.

Both were pronounced dead at the scene.

The Wilmington News Journal reports that Deputy Chief Marvin Malley said that the agency would be there to help the families in their time of grief.

He noted, “Nothing prepares you for this.”

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The volunteer firefighters at Fire Station 1 in Salisbury will be meeting with the Wicomico County Council this Thursday.

The special meeting which will take place at noon comes after the volunteer firefighters decided to leave the Salisbury Fire Department over a staffing dispute.

The Salisbury Daily Times reports that the council members also expect to get an update on negotiations for a fire service agreement between the city and county.

A study found that the county is not paying enough – up to a million dollars -- in actual cost for fire service from the city.

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NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (AP) - President Donald Trump plans to speak Thursday at a Virginia shipyard that builds aircraft carriers and submarines.

Monday's news of the president's visit to Newport News came as the White House said it would propose a $54 billion increase in defense spending.  

Huntington Ingalls Industries spokeswoman Christie Miller confirmed Trump's visit. She said the president will speak on the soon-to-be completed USS Gerald R. Ford aircraft carrier.

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WILMINGTON, Del. (AP) - Gov. John Carney is signing an executive order aimed at improving cabinet-level discussions regarding services for Delaware families.

The new Family Services Cabinet Council being established by Carney will coordinate public services for families, including access to affordable housing, mental health and substance abuse treatment, and early childhood education.

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ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) - The Maryland Senate has confirmed the state's lottery director, more than 21 months after Republican Gov. Larry Hogan appointed him.

The Democrat-controlled Senate voted 27-17 Monday night to confirm Gordon Medenica.

Some senators have expressed confidence in his experience. He was the director of the New York Lottery form 2007 to 2012.

The Hogan administration cites a record $1.08 billion the lottery has raised for the state's general fund, education and other causes under Medenica's stewardship.

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ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) - The Maryland Senate has cut down a bill that would have allowed students to opt out of animal dissections.

The measure brought a spirited debate during the Senate's session Monday night before it was rejected.

Sen. Ron Young, a Frederick County Democrat, says animal dissections are no longer necessary. He also says alternative methods are cheaper, and 18 other states allow students to opt out.

But Sen. Nancy King, a Montgomery County Democrat, says local school boards can address the issue better than state lawmakers.

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ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) - Supporters of banning hydraulic fracturing for natural gas in Maryland are holding a rally.

The rally and news conference are scheduled for Tuesday, before a hearing is held in the state capital on legislation to ban fracking.

The measure is getting a hearing before the Senate Education, Health and Environmental Affairs Committee.

Some who don't want to ban fracking entirely favor extending a moratorium. A current moratorium is set to expire in October. But some say fracking should be allowed, because it would create jobs in western Maryland.

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SALSIBURY, Md. (AP) - Four women who say they were forced into prostitution are suing the owners of a Salisbury hotel, arguing that staff either knew or should have known that the hotel was a site for human trafficking.

The Salisbury Daily Times reports the victims filed separate lawsuits Friday in Wicomico County Circuit Court against the owners of the America's Best Value Inn in Salisbury.

The hotel was the site of a 2014 human-trafficking bust in which the ringleader, Cornelius Briddell, was given a 145-year prison sentence.

Don Rush

The departure of Volunteer Fire Company 1 in Salisbury apparently resulted from a requirement by the department that they be available overnight.

The fire chief Rick Hoopes told the Salisbury Daily Times that it was not mandatory they be at the station but rather could respond from home.

Although, he added, that new recruits would be required to man the stations.

The department said that the changes were made upon the recommendation of a taskforce to improve response time.

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Delaware Democrats retrained control of the state senate this weekend with the election of Stephanie Hansen in the 10 District.

She swept easily to victory over her Republican rival John Marino with 58 percent of the vote.

Hansen replaces Bethany Hall-Long who vacated the seat to become Lt. Governor.

The special election drew national attention with the Wilmington News Journal reporting nearly a million pouring into the race which was seen as an indicator in the wake of President Trump’s election last year.

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DOVER, Del. (AP) - The Dover Police Department says two of its members have died in an off-duty vehicle crash.

The police department confirmed the deaths Sunday of 23-year-old patrolman Robert E. DaFonte and 22-year-old cadet James Watts.

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Around 100 people showed up for a town hall on Friday in Salisbury centering on the question of what will become of the Affordable Care Act under the new administration.

The organization Together We Vote Delmarva had invited Eastern Shore congressman Andy Harris to attend.

Michelle Schlehofer with Together We Vote Delmarva which put on the event said they had contacted Harris’ office numerous times asking that he attend.

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BALTIMORE (AP) - A long-running dispute involving Maryland's historically black colleges has cost the Maryland Higher Education Commission millions.

The Baltimore Sun reports the commission has spent more than $2.2 million defending itself in the lawsuit, according to records provided to the paper under a Public Information Act request. The paper reports that about $925,000 went to law firm Venable LLP and $1.3 million to Zuckerman Spaeder LLP.

Don Rush

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - Virginia state employees will be getting raises, some of them quite hefty, under a budget plan headed to Gov. Terry McAuliffe's desk.

The GOP-controlled General Assembly on Saturday passed a state spending plan that includes significant pay increases for state police and other law enforcement officers, as well as a 3 percent across-the-board raises for state employees and the state's share of a 2 percent raises for teachers. The budget does not include tax increases.

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NORFOLK, Va. (AP) - Two economists say a hiring freeze on federal workers may negatively impact the Hampton Roads region.

The professors from Old Dominion University in Norfolk say in a press release that the area is still struggling to regain jobs after the recession. The Trump Administration's plans to limit hiring and possibly reduce the federal workforce through attrition could hamper growth.

Hampton Roads is home to about 46,000 federal workers and several military installations, including the U.S. Navy's largest base.

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DOVER, Del. (AP) - Gov. John Carney is taking some time away from Delaware to make the rounds in the nation's capital.

Carney was scheduled to join other governors from around the country and meet with President Donald Trump on Monday as part of the National Governors Association Winter Meeting.

After meeting with Trump, Carney planned to attend a briefing with the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, followed by separate health care briefings with congressional Republicans and congressional Democrats.

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