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DOVER, Del. (AP) - Lawmakers are poised to introduce bipartisan legislation to reinstate Delaware's death penalty, which the state Supreme Court declared unconstitutional last year.

Under the bill, the death penalty could not be imposed unless jurors unanimously found the existence of one or more aggravating circumstances. Jurors also would have to unanimously find that aggravating factors alleged by prosecutors had been proven beyond a reasonable doubt and outweighed mitigating factors cited by the defense.

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RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - Virginia taxpayers may have to wait a little longer for expected tax refunds as state officials work to combat tax refund fraud related to identity theft.

State officials have mailed about 104,000 letters to taxpayers this year asking for additional information to verify their identities.

Officials say the extra paperwork helps ensure refunds go to the right people.

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PORTSMOUTH, Va. (AP) - A Coast Guard helicopter crew has conducted a medical evacuation off the coast of Virginia after receiving an emergency alert from a fishing vessel.

Authorities say the Fifth District command center in Portsmouth received an electronic beacon alert Sunday from the 75-foot trawler Capt Nathan, about 50 miles east of Chincoteague, with three people aboard.

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BALTIMORE (AP) - Labor market analysts say Maryland added 11,500 jobs in February, although the state's unemployment rate held steady at 4.2 percent.

The Baltimore Sun reports that last month's job gains powered the strongest three-month surge of job creation in Maryland since the Great Recession.

The gains, reported Friday by the U.S. Labor Department, pulled more than 14,000 people into the labor force, as people started working or looking for work.  The Labor Department also revised its figures for January to a gain of 13,200, nearly double the previous estimate.

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RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - A federal appeals court has revived a lawsuit challenging conditions on Virginia's death row.

A three-judge panel of the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Friday that the lower court improperly dismissed a case brought by five condemned inmates.

The lower court said the case was resolved because prison officials had eased restrictions and granted death row inmates more privileges, including more recreation time.

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RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe has vetoed legislation that would allow people protected under a court order to carry a hidden handgun without getting a permit.

McAuliffe, a Democrat, said Friday that the bill "perpetuates the dangerous fiction" that domestic violence victims would be safer if they were armed. Democrats have generally opposed the bill, saying it would encourage victims of abuse to introduce guns into already dangerous situations.

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RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - A Libertarian candidate for Virginia governor has ended his campaign.

The Daily Press reports Jason Carrier has dropped out.

Carrier said on his Facebook page that he had second thoughts about running and did not want to "waste good people's time and resources."

Libertarian state party chairman Bo Brown has said that the party will hold a convention later this year to nominate another candidate.

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FAIRFAX, Va. (AP) - Former Republican National Committee Chairman Ed Gillespie has won a straw poll in Fairfax County in the race for the GOP nomination for Virginia governor.

Gillespie took about 56 percent of the vote Saturday in a straw poll at Robinson Secondary School during a candidate event hosted by the Fairfax County Republican Committee.

Gillespie will face off in a June 13 primary against state Sen. Frank Wagner and Corey Stewart, a former Virginia chairman of Donald Trump's presidential campaign.

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ROANOKE, Va. (AP) - Unseasonably warm winter weather followed by a cold snap late this month has central Virginia orchard owners and farm managers trying to assess the damage to their crops.

The Roanoke Times reports the recent weather mostly took a toll on fruits such as peaches, nectarines and plums that were blooming when the weather suddenly changed. Late-blooming tree fruits like apples are still doing well.

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WILMINGTON, Del. (AP) - Authorities say a downtown Wilmington shoe store was heavily damaged by a fire that blanketed the area with thick, black smoke, but that no one was injured.

Firefighters spent several hours battling the blaze Sunday afternoon before bringing it under control.

Officials say are the area will remain congested through Monday, and motorists are advised to avoid the area of Fourth and Fifth Streets and Market Street.

There was no immediate word on what caused the fire.

Essay: The Longing

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.

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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."

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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