Farming the Oyster

Nov 25, 2015
Don Rush

With the depletion of the oyster in the Chesapeake Bay a new industry has grown up in the region. It's called aquaculture where oysters are raised to produce this iconic creature. WYPR's Joel McCord took a look at the growth of this industry in the region.


BALTIMORE (AP) - Maryland's Public Service Commission has ordered BGE to cut in half its monthly fee to customers who opt out of having smart meters installed in their homes or small businesses.

The monthly opt out rate will be reduced to $5.50, from $11, beginning in January, the commission said Tuesday in a news release.

The PSC said it held a hearing earlier this month because about 4 percent of BGE's customers in central Maryland are choosing not to have smart meters installed. The commission said a 1 percent opt-out rate was expected when it set the fees in 2014.

The Superintendent of the Christina School District will be retiring in February.

Freeman Williams has been in his job for the last three years and he went on a leave of absence in August.

The Wilmington News Journal reports that the school board is now exploring a time line in the search for a new superintendent.

The paper reports that the change in leadership comes after the state Board of Education came into conflict with the district over how to improve three Priority Schools in Wilmington.

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Congressman John Carney pulled in more than $200-thousand at a fundraiser in Wilmington this week as he takes aim at the governor’s race.

The Delaware Democrat’s one night event at the Hotel du Pont in Wilmington included two major Democratic notables Governor Jack Markell and Attorney General Matt Denn.

In addition the First State’s two Senators Tom Carper and Chris Coons were also on hand.

The Wilmington News Journal reports that the big money and big Democratic names are expected to scare off any Democratic challengers.


It will cost $9.3 million for the longest stretch of a 4.5 mile project on U.S. 301 toll road in Delaware.

State highway officials say they are pleased with the low bid from a Maryland company despite the estimates by state officials of $88 million.

Construction on the 14 mile roadway is expected to start early next year.

The Wilmington News Journal notes that the bids still need to be validated, the bond terms secured and an okay gotten from Delaware lawmakers as well as the administration.

Leo Strine,

The Access to Justice Commission’s Committee on Fairness will be hold a series of public hearings this year looking for way to deal with racial disparity of the criminal justice system in Delaware.  

Chief Justice Leo Strine told the Wilmington News Journal that the goal is to find common sense solutions.

The paper notes that while 22 percent of Delaware’s state population is African American nearly 60 percent of the prison population is black.  

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ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) - A Maryland board has revised the state's revenue estimates up by $212 million for fiscal years 2016 and 2017.

The Maryland Board of Revenue Estimates approved the estimates Monday. The estimates went up $80.6 million for fiscal year 2016, which began in July. Revenue estimates increased $131.6 million for fiscal year 2017.

The revisions come after Maryland ended fiscal year 2015 with a fund balance of $295 million.

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WILMINGTON, Del. (AP) - Officials in Delaware say seven students have graduated from a new employment training program that prepares them to become certified nursing assistants.

The students graduated from the eight-week program, called Generation, on Tuesday. Gov. Jack Markell gave the keynote address at the ceremony.

Jasleen Kaur / creative commons

DOVER, Del. (AP) - Delaware officials have decided not to develop the state's own health insurance exchange under the Affordable Care Act and instead will keep the current state-federal partnership model.

Delaware was granted nonbinding approval in June to develop a supported state-based health insurance marketplace, but Health and Social Services Secretary Rita Landgraf said Thursday that the state will not move forward with the plan.

NEW CASTLE, Del. (AP) - Gov. Jack Markell is set to sign legislation targeting the driving privileges of motorists with unpaid traffic fines.

The bill to be signed Monday changes the procedures for the suspension, nonrenewal, or nonduplication of driver's licenses or driving privileges for the failure to resolve motor vehicle charges.

The new law says driver's licenses will not be renewed or duplicate licenses issued if there are outstanding fines or fees for minor traffic offenses subject to voluntary assessment until the fees are paid by the license applicant.

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Governor Jack Markell gave high praise to his former political rival congressman John Carney adding that the Delaware Democrat would make a terrific gubernatorial candidate next year.

The semi-endorsement came through a spokesman for the governor this past weekend.

Carney has not indicated if he will make a run for the governorship.

Markell beat Carney in the 2008 gubernatorial primary.

Meanwhile, Carper worked for then Governor Tom Carper during the mid-1990’s.

Markell will leave office next year after his two term limit is up. 

DelDOT website

When undocumented immigrants apply for driving privilege cards in Delaware they must submit their finger prints that go to law enforcement for a criminal background check.

That requirement was a compromise reached with law enforcement when the legislation was approved this year.

State Senator Bryan Townsend who sponsored the legislation and is co-chair of a panel that will review the law next year fears finger printing could keep people from signing up for a license.

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The avian flu has hit the poultry industry with a vengeance leaving 48 million chickens and turkey dead since last December.

The U.S. Agriculture Department has been moving quickly to round of the birds as quickly as possible and killing them before it spreads.

In the Mid-West the pandemic appears to have slowed.

But during a senate committee hearing yesterday on Capitol Hill Delaware Democrat Tom Carper warned of becoming too complacent.

An Apology for Slavery?

Jul 8, 2015
Historical drawing

There could be an apology for slavery in Delaware.

Governor Jack Markell received a request for such a proclamation last week from Harmon Carey, founder and executive director of the Afro-American Historical Society in Wilmington.

The Wilmington News Journal reports that he wrote that there was a “moral imperative”0 to acknowledge the inhumanity of slavery and the unjust prosecution of Abolitionists.

Carey says he believes an apology would heal the wounds still being felt to this day.

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More motorists are expected to hit the roads this July 4th holiday.

Triple AAA Mid-Atlantic says in Delaware 97-thousand are expected to be on the highways out of 112-thousand expected to be traveling this year.

That’s up .9 percent over last year.

Meanwhile, in Maryland 870-thousand residents are expected to be traveling with 754-thousand hitting the roadways.

That’s an increase of 2.3 percent over last year.

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WILMINGTON, Del. (AP) - Members of the legislature's budget-writing committee have caved to pressure from local governments and will reverse a decision to give the state a larger share of real estate transfer taxes.

Currently, the 3 percent tax is split evenly between state and county governments, each getting 1.5 percent.

Members of the Joint Finance Committee agreed last week that the state should start taking 2 percent of the tax starting July 1, 2016, to help close an expected revenue gap of more than $160 million in fiscal 2017.

Don Rush

DOVER, Del. (AP) - A House committee is set to consider a Democratic proposal to raise income taxes for wealthy Delawareans.

The bill would hike the tax rate to 7.1 percent for families making between $125,000 and $250,000. For families making more than $250,000, the rate would be 7.85 percent.

The current top tax rate is 6.6 percent for income above $60,000.

badges society

Delaware is in mourning this week after receiving news of the death of Beau Biden from brain cancer at the age of 46. Top state and national officials offered their condolences to Vice President Joe Biden and his family at their loss. Delmarva Public Radio's Don Rush takes a look at the politician and man who was such a rising star in the Democratic Party.

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DOVER, Del. (AP) - Officials are eyeing changes to Delaware's conch fishing rules to keep commercial fishermen on equal footing with their New Jersey counterparts.

Officials planned to hold a hearing Thursday evening on lowering the minimum size limits for licensed knobbed conch dredgers.

Currently, Delaware requires a six-inch minimum size limit, while New Jersey has a five-inch minimum. Officials say that poses a potential economic disadvantage to Delaware conch harvesters fishing the shared waters of the Delaware Bay.

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OCEAN CITY, Md. (AP) - New regulations are going into effect in Maryland and Delaware for a reduction in fishing for striped bass.

The two states have taken different approaches to recommendations for the fishing reduction.

Maryland is changing regulations for inland fishing and on the coast. Last year, anglers could catch two striped bass per day per person. This year they can only catch one per day.

Don Rush

NEW CASTLE, Del. (AP) - A panel exploring how to make Delaware's revenue portfolio less unpredictable and more reflective of economic conditions is putting the finishing touches on its report.

The Structural Revenue Review Committee was to meet Friday to discuss the content and dissemination of its report to Gov. Jack Markell and state lawmakers.

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WILMINGTON, Del. (AP) - Delaware's air quality has continued its steady improvement, but the state still gets a failing grade for having high levels of ozone on hot and sunny days.

The News Journal reports the American Lung Association gave all three Delaware counties a grade of F for having too many high-ozone days.

The report showed some improvement, with the county of New Castle earning a C grade on particle pollution, an improvement upon last year's D grade. The other two counties received A's in that category.

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There will be no right to work law in the state of Delaware.

The Republican measure was turned down by Democrats in the state Senate Labor Committee yesterday with the backing of unions.

Under the bill right-to-work zones could have been carved out to attract manufacturing and it would have kept workers from having to join a union or pay for the upkeep of a union contract.

Since 1990 the state has seen more than 20-thousand manufacturing jobs disappear from the First State.

There are 25 states that have right-to-work laws.

Don Rush

DOVER, Del. (AP) - After the winter forced schools to miss class days, Delaware's school districts are working to make up the lost time.

Some districts built enough time into the school year and no makeup days will be needed. Alexis Andrianopoulos, spokeswoman for the Brandywine School District, tells The Wilmington News Journal  that four full days were missed, and there were two delayed openings and two early dismissals during the winter.

But no makeup days will be needed, she said.

A Gold Alert has been issued for 86 year-old James Custis of Lewes, Delaware.

There has been no word from him since 10 p.m. on Saturday when he spoke to a family member by phone.

WBOC reports that Delaware State Police say they were unable to find him and there is now a concern for his safety.

Custis is an African America male around 5 feet 10 inches tall and weighs around 160 pounds.

He also has brown eyes and grey hair.



WILMINGTON, Del. (AP) - A former Kent County Republican chairman is running for Congress.

Hans Reigle, an assistant professor and assistant director of aviation at Delaware State University, filed paperwork last month to run for Delaware's only seat in the U.S. House of Representatives. Democratic Rep. John Carney now holds the seat.

Reigle says he'll work to improve the nation's educational system and eliminate wasteful spending. Reigle also says he will work to bring manufacturing jobs back to America and strengthen border security.

delaware repeal project facebook

DOVER, Del. (AP) - The state Senate is set to vote on a bill to abolish Delaware's death penalty.

The legislation, which cleared a Senate committee last week, mirrors a bill that passed the Senate in 2013 by only one vote before dying in a House committee.

The legislation removes execution as a possible punishment for first-degree murder, leaving life in prison without the possibility of parole as the only sentence.

The bill, which faces opposition from the law enforcement community, would not apply to inmates currently on death row.

Don Rush

WASHINGTON (AP) - Motorists in Delaware are paying 3 cents less at the pump when compared with a week ago.

AAA Mid-Atlantic said Sunday in a weekly report that the average price of a gallon of regular unleaded gas in Delaware was $2.25. That's compared to $2.28 a week ago.

Motorists in the region are paying $1.25 less per gallon than a year ago. At this time last year Delaware drivers were paying $3.50 per gallon.

The price of gas in the state is 17 cents below the national average of $2.42 per gallon.

Don Rush

DOVER, Del. (AP) - Some state agencies in Delaware fail to comply with requirements for identifying their Freedom of Information Act coordinators and tracking FOIA requests.

An Associated Press review of state agency FOIA logs shows significant differences in the amount of detail they include, and several agencies didn't meet a statutory deadline of 15 business days to respond to or at least acknowledge requests for the logs.

A 2012 law also requires each agency to identify a FOIA coordinator on its website, but some still do not.

Don Rush

Things are looking up for the First State’s job market.

The unemployment rate in Delaware fell to 5% in January.

That’s down from 6.1% during the same period last year.

There's another piece of good news.

The Gallop organization listed Delaware in the top ten for job creation.

Wages also rose in January.

The weekly earnings went up to $726 a week from an even $700 in December.