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Essay: Yearning

Mar 24, 2017
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We immerse ourselves in the material needs of the day. But, Delmarva Public Radio Essayist George Merrill asks what about the needs of the soul -- that sense of yearning.

Montgomery School Website

BETHESDA, Md. (AP) - Students and parents whose Maryland high school has been dragged into the national immigration debate declined to comment about an alleged rape case involving a 14-year-old girl and a suspect authorities say came to the U.S. illegally from Central America.

Thursday evening in the parking lot of Rockville High School, one mother would only point to a sign of red plastic cups in a ballpark fence that read "Rockville Strong."

Target Logo

A bomb threat was called into the Target store in Brandywine Hundred yesterday afternoon.

The call was made around 1:30 p.m. which claimed that a bomb was inside the store.

The Wilmington News Journal reports that the caller demanded an unknown amount of cash or the device would be detonated.

The paper reports that the store was evacuated but authorities found nothing suspicious.

The store was reopened at 4 p.m.

Jennifer Seay / Wicomico Board of Education

Christen Tacka has been named this year’s Wicomico Teacher of the Year.

The 22-year old intervention specialist at Prince Street Elementary School said that while it may sound corny she loves her job.

The Salisbury Daily Times reports that 25 teachers were honored at the annual banquet last night held on the campus of Salisbury University.

The paper reports that the field was dominated by teachers in early childhood and primary education with seven top elementary teachers chosen by their schools.

House of Representatives

DOVER, Del. (AP) - Democratic Gov. John Carney is proposing a mix of tax increases and spending cuts to balance a budget for the fiscal year starting July 1.

Carney on Thursday unveiled his plan to maintain core government services while closing an estimated $385 million shortfall between expected revenue and expected expenses for fiscal 2018, based on current year funding.

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The graduation and dropout rates for high school students in Delaware is improving.

The high school graduation rate inched up from 84.6 percent from 84.3 percent in 2015.

Around 83-hundred out of 98-hundred students graduated with a high school diploma.

Meanwhile, the dropout rate declined from 2.2 percent in the 2014-2015 school year to 1.4 percent in the last term.

The Red Clay School District - now the biggest statewide - hailed its low dropout rate of .9 percent.

Equality Virginia website

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe has vetoed Republican-backed legislation that would bar the government from punishing anyone who refuses to participate in same-sex weddings because of their religious beliefs.

McAuliffe, a Democrat, vetoed similar legislation last year. Republican supporters say the measure is necessary to protect religious freedom.

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DOVER, Del. (AP) - Officials say more than 200,000 Delaware residents have been put at risk of identity theft following a breach of a state Labor Department job-seeker database earlier this month.

Delaware Department of Labor Secretary Patrice Gilliam Johnson said Wednesday that the attack occurred after a hacker created a job-seeker account in the Delaware JobLink database and then exploited a vulnerability in the system.

The database connects job seekers with employers and contains information from about 253,000 people in the state.

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DOVER, Del. (AP) - Officials in Delaware are beginning an annual effort to spray insecticide to combat mosquitoes.

The Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control said in a statement that weather-permitting, the spraying will begin Thursday downstate and possibly Friday upstate. Officials said in most years about 10,000 acres are sprayed. The spraying is done by helicopter and other aircraft.

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MILLSBORO, Del. (AP) - Four horses were killed after a Sussex County barn caught fire.

Assistant State Fire Marshal Michael G. Chionchio says several other animals, including chickens, ducks and barn cats, also died in the blaze early Wednesday outside of Millsboro. There were no reports of people being injured.

Investigators believe the fire was the result of a heat lamp igniting near combustible materials inside the barn.

Officials estimate the fire caused $50,000 in damages.

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ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) - Maryland Democrats in the state legislature will be talking about how proposed cuts in the federal budget could affect the state.

House Speaker Michael Busch and Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller are scheduled to gather with fellow Democrats on Thursday in Annapolis.

Maryland lawmakers have been particularly concerned about how President Donald Trump's budget proposal could hurt the state.

Maryland is home to a large number of federal workers, and federal agencies are headquartered in the state.

Colonial Williambsburg website

WILLIAMSBURG, Va. (AP) - The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation is considering charging admission to its Historic Area.

The Daily Press reports that the general area is free. But the foundation requires tickets into homes, shops and museums as well as tours of the Governor's Palace.

The foundation detailed its concerns to Williamsburg's city council in a recent memo. It said it loses between $1.3 million and $2.4 million a year when guests enter the property without a ticket.

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DOVER, Del. (AP) - State officials are proposing revisions to Delaware's insurance code to ensure that people struggling with opioid addiction get the treatment they need.

Attorney General Matt Denn on Wednesday also called for the creation of a new oversight committee to help identify and target medical providers who are over prescribing painkillers.

Insurance Commissioner Trinidad Navarro and Public Health Director Dr. Karyl Rattay expressed their support for the legislation, as did parents who have lost children to drug overdoses.

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There will be more flexibility in Delaware’s new education plan for schools for accountability and funding.

In addition, there will be a five star rating performance system.

But the plan did get some opposition from the Delaware State Education Association.

State Representative Kim Williams, vice chair of the Education Committee, questioned the fairness of the system because of school choice with some schools having a larger group of higher performing students.

A final draft is expected to be submitted to the federal Department of Education later this spring.

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David Pierce is out as warden of the James T. Vaughn Correctional Center in the aftermath of the inmate uprising that left one officer dead.

The Wilmington News Journal reports the department said that Pierce has been reassigned but could not provide any further information due to personnel confidentiality.

The paper notes there was no public announcement about Pierce’s departure.

He went to work for the Department of Correction in 1996 and was promoted to warden in August of 2013.

Deputy Warden Phil Parker has taken over as acting warden.

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ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) - The Maryland Senate has passed a measure to revive the role of cash bail in Maryland after the state's highest court approved a rule change that lessened its significance for pre-trial release of people who get arrested.

The Senate passed the bill 29-18 Wednesday. Fifteen Democrats and all of the chamber's 14 Republicans voted for the measure. All of the Senate's 18 opponents were Democrats.

The measure goes to the House.

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Attorney Stephen Hampton says he represents dozens of inmates who have allegedly been tortured in the aftermath of the uprising at the James T. Vaughn Correctional Center that led to the death of Officer Steven Floyd.

The Wilmington News Journal reports that Hampton wrote Governor John Carney that he has received letters that claim “an orgy of gratuitous violence against every inmate in the building” following the uprising.

In addition he said that supervisors must be aware of the alleged torture.

And he demanded that the alleged violence stop.

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The Christina School Board has inched forward to create a sanctuary for undocumented students.

This week the board with a unanimous vote initially approved the decision with a second reading set for April 11th.

The Wilmington News Journal reports that the board approved an actually policy rather than a simple resolution giving measure more permanence.

The decision directs school personnel are to refer all requests by immigration officials to the Superintendent for the purpose of getting a legal review of the order.

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DOVER, Del. (AP) - Delaware lawmakers are eyeing legislation requiring people who have been arrested for, but not convicted of, certain crimes to submit to DNA testing.

Under current law, a person convicted of a sexual offense, or an offense relating to children or a person deemed incompetent, must submit to DNA testing. Results are stored in a database used by law enforcement as a crime-solving tool.

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DOVER, Del. (AP) - Delaware lawmakers are eyeing proposals to bring more transparency and accountability to the state school board, if not abolish it.

A legislative committee on Tuesday discussed several recommendations for overhauling the seven-member board of gubernatorial appointees.

The board has been criticized by lawmakers, teachers, school districts and parents in recent years for being heavy-handed and inaccessible.

New Castle County Police

NEWCASTLE, Del. (AP) - Lt. Col. Vaughn Bond Jr. has been appointed the first African-American police chief to lead the New Castle County Police Department.

News outlets report County Executive Matthew Meyer nominated Bond on Tuesday. Officials say Bond served as interim chair after his predecessor retired last year.

Meyers says our goal was to find the best person to move this department forward.

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RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - The conservative Family Foundation of Virginia says it plans to file a legal challenge over the way the state did away with restrictive regulations for abortion centers.
The group says it notified Gov. Terry McAuliffe's administration Tuesday of its intention to file an administrative appeal over the health and safety regulations, which were updated in October.
Foundation President Victoria Cobb says the administration violated state law in its "quest to water down" the standards.

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NEW CASTLE, Del. (AP) - A state panel has lowered Delaware's official revenue forecast once again, just days before Gov. John Carney unveils his budget proposal for the upcoming fiscal year.
    
The Delaware Economic and Financial Advisory Council on Monday lowered its revenue estimate for the current fiscal year by about $30 million compared to its December forecast.

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Reverend Chris Bullock of the Caanan Baptist Church told a gathering last night that it was time for a change in the Delaware prison system in the wake of the inmate uprising that left one guard dead at the James T. Vaughn Correctional Center.

The forum in Wilmington was joined by former Delaware Department of Correction Lt. Janice Hubbard who said that the prison riot had drawn new attention to long standing issues in the state’s prison system.

WBOC reports that Hubbard clearly said that the inmates had done something wrong but added that they deserve humane treatment.

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ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) - A Maryland House panel has voted against Gov. Larry Hogan's congressional redistricting reform bill, but a Senate committee has passed a bill to create a mid-Atlantic compact for drawing congressional district lines.

The Republican governor's bill, which was voted down Monday, would have put congressional and state legislative redistricting in the hands of an independent board in Maryland to take the politics out of the process of drawing districts.

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DOVER, Del. (AP) - House lawmakers are set to vote on a bill aimed at encouraging teenagers to stay in school and get their high school diplomas.

The bill to be voted on Tuesday requires any student over the age of 16 who wants to leave school prior to graduation to obtain the written consent of a parent or guardian.

The student also would have to attend an exit interview where he or she would be told that dropping out could lead to diminished earning potential and the increased likelihood of unemployment.

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31 year old Troy Short of Hurlock has been identified as the suspect who was show by two local law enforcement officers last Saturday night.

He is reported to be in stable condition at the Christiana Hospital in Newark.

The Salisbury Daily Times reports that Short fled Worcester County Sheriffs who tried to make an initial stop in Ocean City.

Short apparently crossed state lines into Delaware where the Ocean View Police also became involved.

Don Rush - File Photo

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) - Four of Maryland's U.S. House members are criticizing Republican Gov. Larry Hogan for not speaking out against the GOP health care bill in Washington.

Reps. Steny Hoyer, Elijah Cummings, John Sarbanes and Jamie Raskin gathered in front of the governor's residence on Monday to criticize Hogan for not joining four GOP governors who've made their own proposal about how to overhaul Medicaid for low-income people.

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RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe has signed a bill to provide $1.55 million to a man who spent more than three decades in prison for a crime he didn't commit.

Keith Allen Harward was released from prison in April 2016 at age 60 after DNA evidence proved him innocent of the 1982 killing of Jesse Perron and the rape of his wife in Newport News. Harward was a sailor on the USS Carl Vinson, which was stationed at the shipyard near the victims' home at the time.

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GLOUCESTER POINT, Va. (AP) - President Trump's budget proposal would slash funding by 25 percent at the Virginia Institute of Marine Science.

Associate Dean Mark Luckenbach says the impact would be felt throughout the Tidewater region.

For instance, VIMS gives guidance to communities trying to comply with Chesapeake Bay pollution standards. It also provides significant support to the growing oyster industry, including its breeding program.

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