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DOVER, Del. (AP) - The legislature's budget-writing committee is set to begin its review of Gov. Jack Markell's proposed $3.8 billion operating budget for the fiscal year starting July 1.

The Joint Finance Committee was to convene Tuesday for an overview of the budget proposal and the state's revenues. The panel will then spend the next four weeks on an agency-by-agency review of Markell's proposed budget.

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DOVER, Del. (AP) - Gov. Jack Markell is proposing a state operating budget for the fiscal year starting July 1 that is 3 percent higher than this year's budget and includes a pay raise for Delaware's state government workers.

The budget increase Markell proposed on Thursday is only slightly smaller than the 3.5 percent budget growth he proposed last year for the current budget.

Markell is asking lawmakers to approve a $3.83 billion operating budget for fiscal 2015.

Don Rush

DOVER, Del. (AP) - Gov. Jack Markell has signed a bill raising Delaware's minimum wage by a dollar over the next two years.

Markell signed the legislation just one hour after it received final legislative approval Thursday.

The new law raises the hourly wage from $7.25 to $7.75 on June 1, and to $8.25 on June 1, 2015.

Markell said the lack of economic mobility is a disturbing trend, and that the law will help a lot of working people.

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DOVER, Del. (AP) - Gov. Jack Markell is joining local education officials to celebrate the recognition of the Charter School of Wilmington as a National Blue Ribbon School.

Markell planned to join Wilmington Charter president Samuel Paoli, Red Clay district superintendent Merv Daugherty and faculty and students on Friday to celebrate the award by the U.S. Department of Education.

The blue ribbon program recognizes public and private schools where students perform at very high levels or where significant improvements are being made in academic achievement.

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Delaware State Treasurer Chip Flowers was sharply criticized yesterday afternoon by House leadership for his troubled relationship with Delaware’s Cash Management Policy Board.  

The criticism came before a committee cleared a bill that limits his ability to manage a $2 billion taxpayer portfolio.

Flowers has been in conflict with the board management of the state’s cash portfolio.

And board members appointed by Governor Jack Markell asked that the General Assembly settle the dispute.

Don Rush

DOVER, Del. (AP) - The state House is poised to vote on a bill raising Delaware's minimum wage by a dollar over the next two years.

Democrats propose raising the current hourly wage from $7.25 to $7.75 on June 1, and to $8.25 on June 1, 2015. 

Supporters say the higher wage will stimulate the economy and help low-wage families make ends meet.  Opponents argue it will lead to higher prices that will negatively affect low-wage earners and result in fewer hires.

Minority Republicans have proposed delaying the start of the increases by six months.

Don Rush

Delmarvans are emerging from up to 10 inches of snow that struck the peninsula yesterday and into last night leaving behind single digit temperatures.

Most school systems are closed today on Delamrva.

Local and state government offices are closed while federal offices are expected to open up two hours late.

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DOVER, Del. (AP) - State lawmakers are poised to discuss a bill stating that Delaware's treasurer has no direct control over the state's $2 billion cash management portfolio. 

The bill, which was quickly tabled after being introduced last year, was scheduled for a Senate committee hearing on Wednesday.

State treasurer Chip Flowers, who has repeatedly clashed with Delaware's Cash Management Policy Board over who controls the portfolio, planned a news conference Wednesday in advance of the committee hearing to speak against the legislation.

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WILMINGTON, Del. (AP) - Gov. Jack Markell has established a task force to study criminal background check requirements for people who work with Delaware's children.

Markell's issued an executive order Monday calling for a thorough review of state laws and regulations determining when background checks are necessary, saying they are sometimes inconsistent.

The order establishes a task force that will make recommendations on how to best protect children in schools and other settings.

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BEAR, Del. (AP) - A task force studying Delaware's civil mental health laws is finishing up its work in advance of a Jan. 1 deadline for submitting a report with its full findings to the General Assembly and the governor.

Among the issues that have been examined by the task force, which meets Tuesday, are immunity provisions regarding involuntary mental health commitments. The immunity provision were the subject of a task force report that was due earlier this year and which was followed with legislation signed by Gov. Jack Markell in March.

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Around 75 parents, teachers and supporters rallied at the gym for Reach Academy for Girls Charter School this week as part of a campaign to prevent the closure of the institution.

Cheerleaders filled the building chanting Keep Reach Open.

The Academy is the state’s only all-girls school but is set to be closed in June after its charter was not renewed by state officials last week.

They noted that test scores registered the lowest academic performance in the state.

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DOVER, Del. (AP) - Gov. Jack Markell is being honored this week at a gathering to celebrate the Greater Philadelphia region's trade and cultural ties with the Republic of Chile.

Markell is scheduled to travel to Philadelphia on Tuesday to receive the 16th Annual "Friend of Chile" award from the Chilean and American Chamber of Commerce.

The award comes roughly a year after Markell welcomed Chile's ambassador to the United States to the Port of Wilmington to await the arrival of the first Chilean fruit vessel for the 2012-2013 season.  

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WILMINGTON, Del. (AP) - State officials are launching a new website reminding the global business community about the benefits of incorporating in Delaware.

The new website, corplaw.delaware.gov, offers content in 10 languages, a blog and an email subscription service.

Gov. Jack Markell planned to join Secretary of State Jeffrey Bullock, Chancellor Leo Strine Jr. and attorneys on Tuesday to unveil the new Web site.

Delaware is the corporate home of more than half of the publicly traded companies in the United States, including almost two-thirds of the Fortune 500.

Marking Veterans Day

Nov 12, 2013
Don Rush

NEW CASTLE, Del. (AP) - Delaware politicians say honoring the state's military veterans means much more than paying tributes on Veterans Day.

Gov. Jack Markell and members of Delaware's congressional delegation joined other officials Monday for the annual Veterans Day ceremony at the foot of the Delaware Memorial Bridge.

The elected officials sounded a common theme, saying Delawareans must do what they can to help veterans after they leave military service. That includes helping them find civilian jobs and taking care of homeless veterans.

Don Rush

NEW CASTLE, Del. (AP) - Delaware's elected officials are joining with veterans groups for the annual Veterans Day Ceremony in New Castle.

Gov. Jack Markell planned to join all three members of Delaware's congressional delegation and other officials Monday for the ceremony at the foot of the Delaware Memorial Bridge honoring the military service of America's veterans.

The National Veterans Day Committee in Washington has designated Veterans Day in New Castle as a National Veterans Day Regional Site for the nation's 60th annual Veterans Day celebration.

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NEW CASTLE, Del. (AP) - Gov. Jack Markell is joining officials of Frontier Airlines to discuss the company's plans for growth at the New Castle Airport.

Markell plans to join Frontier Airlines CEO David Siegel and airport officials on Wednesday to announce Frontier's plans.

The Colorado-based air carrier began operating from Wilmington this summer, ending a five-year period in which Delaware had no commercial air service.

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NEWARK, Del. (AP) - Delaware's congressional delegation is hosting yet another job fair in an effort to help put unemployed Delawareans back to work.

Senators Tom Carper and Chris Coons and Congressman John Carney are hosting their last job fair of the year on Monday at the Embassy Suites in Newark.

Gov. Jack Markell also plans to speak at the job fair, which is being organized with the help of Brandywine Counseling and Career Services and includes more than 50 potential employers.

Don Rush

Delaware will become the first state in the nation to launch “a full suite” of internet gambling.

This is an effort by state officials and casino owners to keep revenues from gaming competitive with surrounding states that have expanded their gambling facilities.

The Wilmington News Journal reports that around 25 to 75 players have registered online to test out the system over the next week at the state’s three casinos.

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NEWARK, Del. (AP) - High schools across Delaware are setting aside time over the next month to help seniors with the college application process.

State officials say 20 Delaware high schools are designating school time to help seniors apply for college as part of College Application Month.

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LEWES, Del. (AP) - State officials are welcoming an effort to improve a trail system in Cape Henlopen State Park.

Gov. Jack Markell and other officials planned to gather Friday for the groundbreaking for the final phase of the new Gordons Pond Trail.

The new trail project, combined with an existing stone trail, will result in almost three miles of improved trail connecting Gordons Pond to Herring Point. 

Officials say the new trail will provide recreational opportunities and nice views of the pond, tidal marsh, ocean and dunes.

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After nearly two years of construction the traffic should begin to flow smoothly over a new two-lane flyover ramp from Delaware Route 1 to northbound I-95 in northern Delaware.

That allows motorists heading toward Wilmington and Philadelphia to stay on the left along the ramp while those going to I-295 and New Jersey merge right.

The new ramp allows motorists to avoid shifting five lanes of interstate traffic or end up in New Jersey.

The ramp was opened around 11:30 a.m. that is designed to eliminate a choke point on the I-95 corridor in the northeast.

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Bloom Energy formally opened its Delaware factory in Newark.

Company and state leaders called it a starting point for the next generation of manufacturing in the state that has seen its old factories disappear.

Bloom CEO K R Sridhar noted that traditional manufacturing jobs that make cars or steel are disappearing.

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Delaware Governor Jack Markell defended his plans to build a data center and a power plant at the former Chrysler site in Newark.

He told a town hall meeting last night that the projects would bring jobs to the state – especially in these difficult economic times.

Markell said, “We have to stop saying no.”

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NEWARK, Del. (AP) - Gov. Jack Markell says Delaware needs to raise starting salaries for teachers as part of the state's effort to improve public schools.

Markell on Wednesday also called for higher pay for math and science teachers and for educators teaching in difficult school settings.

Markell joined Delaware education and business leaders at the 6th annual Vision 2015 Conference on Education at the University of Delaware.

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DOVER, Del. (AP) - Gov. Jack Markell is taking part in national education summit in New York.

Markell was scheduled to participate in a panel discussion on teacher training Monday afternoon during the 2013 NBC News Education Nation Summit at the New York Public Library.

Markell also was to be interviewed earlier in the day about increasing early learning opportunities in advance of a panel discussion including Harriet Dichter, executive director of the Delaware Office of Early Learning.

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Governor Jack Markell told a group of Delaware taxpayers last night in Lewes that he would not suspend the prevailing-wage laws or back out of incentive agreements with companies like Bloom Energy.

The Wilmington News Journal reports that improving the education system will boost the labor pool for local businesses.

Don Rush

DOVER, Del. (AP) - Gov. Jack Markell is temporarily giving up his official driver and usual mode of transportation for a two-wheeled tour of Delaware.

Markell planned to don sneakers and shorts Friday to host the Governor's 7th Annual Bike Tour of Delaware.

The governor, an avid cyclist, will join with members of his cabinet and other biking enthusiasts for a 60-mile bike ride from Middletown to Dover.

The tour starts Friday morning at the Middletown Park and Ride on Route 299 and ends at Woodburn, the official governor's residence in Dover.

Don Rush

It’s not too early to start looking at the budget options for Delaware lawmakers.

And, in an expectation of more continue tough financial times ahead legislators have scheduled some early meetings on how to deal with increased costs and an expected drop in revenue.

The Wilmington News Journal reports that state revenues are projected to be $55 million short of what was allocated for the fiscal year of 2014 that ends in June of next year.

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WILMINGTON, Del. (AP) - State officials are celebrating the opening of new, state-of-the-art fitness centers at three schools in Delaware.

Gov. Jack Markell planned to join the chairman of the National Foundation for Governors' Fitness Councils on Wednesday to cut the ribbon on fitness centers at A.I. duPont Middle School in Greenville and Bancroft Elementary School in Wilmington.

The third school, McCullough Middle School, will host a ribbon cutting event Thursday.

The schools were selected to receive grants to support efforts to improve youth fitness and wellness.

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After two days of grueling public testimony plans for the Route 113 around and south of Millsboro could be delayed again if residents and lawmakers can’t agree on a route.

Geogg Sundstrom, spokesman for the Delaware Department of Transportation told the Wilmington News Journal that if there is no the political will put the project out there Governor Jack Markell has made it clear it won’t be built.

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