New Castle County

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ROCKLAND, Del. (AP) - New Castle County has canceled a deer hunt planned for next week in a Rockland public park after neighbors raised concerns.

The Wilmington News Journal reports that County Executive Tom Gordon says officials will look at nonlethal ways to thin the deer population around Woodley Park.

Gordon says there are serious health and traffic problems associated with the deer, but the community is split.

WILMINGTON, Del. (AP) - One Delaware county is barring government-funded travel to Indiana over a new religious-objections law that has raised concerns that gays and lesbians could face discrimination.

New Castle County Executive Tom Gordon signed an executive order Wednesday, saying the county is reviewing travel plans for all employees. Gordon says he's not aware of any upcoming government trips to the state, but the order was meant to send a message.

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New Castle County Auditor Robert Wasserbach denounced – what he called – a “cowardly” effort to diminish his probe into the county’s second in command David Grimaldi.

The investigation is looking into switching of $92 million to money manager UBS without going through the bidding process.

Wasserbach says that his report will look at whether the county’s finance managers actually abided by county policy when investing the county surplus.

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NEW CASTLE, Del. (AP) - New Castle County officials are launching a new initiative to warn people about the dangers of heroin.

The campaign, to be discussed at a news conference Thursday, is aimed at teenagers and at making suburban, middle class families aware that heroin use is happening in their communities as well as in the inner city.

County Executive Tom Gordon and County Police Chief Col. E.M. Setting were among the officials scheduled to be on hand to discuss the effort.

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NEW CASTLE, Del. (AP) - New Castle County police are seeking the public's help in investigations of three fatal shootings, including one at a local community center earlier this week.

County executive Tom Gordon and Attorney General Matt Denn planned to join police officials at a news conference Friday to discuss the shootings.

Police have not yet identified a suspect in Monday's shooting of 30-year-old Jamar Kilgoe inside a basement recording studio at the Rose Hill Community Center.

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DOVER, Del. (AP) - Officials are wrapping up a series of public meetings on proposed increase in user fees at Delaware's state parks.

The fiscal 2015 capital budget approved by lawmakers earlier this year authorized the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control to propose a fee increase after receiving public comment and approval of advisory councils.

Officials have held public comment sessions in Sussex and New Castle counties, and the final session was scheduled for Tuesday at Killens Pond in Kent County.

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WILMINGTON, Del. (AP) - New Castle County and the city of Wilmington are planning to release new strategic plans for economic development.

The Wilmington News Journal reports that the county paid consultants $49,500 for its report, while Wilmington paid the same two firms $25,000 for its plan. The same companies crafted an economic development plan for Newark three years ago. They are Wadley-Donovan Growth Tech LLC of New Jersey and Garnet Consulting Services of Connecticut.

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WILMINGTON, Del. (AP) - Gusty winds have taken down trees, causing power outages in Delaware and Maryland's Eastern Shore.

Delmarva Power reported more than 2,000 customers had lost electricity on Sunday morning. The outages were centered mostly in New Castle County and Cecil County, Maryland.

By mid-afternoon, Delmarva Power was still showing outages affecting about 1,500 customers.

In the Lewes area, the Delaware Electric Cooperative reported about a dozen customers lost service.

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NEW CASTLE, Del. (AP) - An investment firm that managed millions of dollars in New Castle County funds is defending its work after a county administrator said it charged excessive fees.

At issue is a decision by the county's chief administrative officer, David Grimaldi, to transfer $92 million in county reserve funds to United Bank of Switzerland back in 2012.

Last month the county auditor questioned the transfer and said he was reviewing whether the transfer should have been put up for bid.

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NEW CASTLE, Del. (AP) - The New Castle County auditor is examining the transfer of $92 million of the county government's reserve account to the United Bank of Switzerland.

The Wilmington News Journal reports the transfer was made shortly after New Castle County Executive Tom Gordon took office in November 2012.

Auditor Bob Wasserbach says he's reviewing whether the County Council should have voted on the transfer or whether it should have been put up for a public bid.

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New Castle County Council member Stu Markham is calling on the University of Delaware to more thoroughly vet major projects.

He says he wants to avoid the drawn out battle that developed over the proposed data center that included a gas-fired power plant at the old Chrysler site which drew sharp local opposition.

The University announced the termination of its 75 year lease with The Data Centers LLC with the viability of its plans for the 279-megawatt power plant coming into question.

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New Castle County would pay $9 million for the old General Motors plant on Boxwood Road near Newport.

The site was supposed to have housed a facility for Fisker Automotive – a deal that fell through when financing collapsed.

Councilman George Smiley said the county is looking for some kind of manufacturing but not an automotive company.

County Executive Tom Gordon told the Wilmington News Journal that he was looking to attract high-paying jobs.

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NEW CASTLE, Del. (AP) - Authorities are warning residents of the Stonebridge Apartment complex in New Castle County to stay off their balconies after a 51-year-old woman was injured when a second-floor balcony collapsed at the complex.

New Castle County police spokesman Cpl. John Weglarz says it happened around 3 p.m. Monday. The woman was taken to a hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.

The cause of the collapse is under investigation.

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WILMINGTON, Del. (AP) - New Castle County firefighters are calling for a new property tax to help pay for emergency medical services.

But the Wilmington News Journal reports that County Executive Tom Gordon says he'll fight it. State legislation would be needed to allow the county to create a special assessment to pay for emergency medical services.

Don Rush

WILMINGTON, Del. (AP) - New Castle County officials say they expect an $8.4 million surplus by the end of the fiscal year.

The Wilmington News Journal reports that the surplus is a big change, since the year was expected to end with a $2 million shortfall.

The latest projections show that revenue will be up by $5.7 million and expenses will be $2.7 million lower than expected. Officials say most of the new revenue expected comes from $5.5 million more in real estate transfer taxes.

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DOVER, Del. (AP) - The Delaware Supreme Court is set to hear arguments in a lawsuit stemming from a controversial redevelopment project in suburban Wilmington.

The justices were to convene Wednesday to hear arguments over a Chancery Court decision nullifying a New Castle County council rezoning vote for the proposed Barley Mill Plaza redevelopment project.

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WILMINGTON, Del. (AP) - Officials in one Delaware county say they won't try to collect on about $218,000 that inadvertently went unbilled from thousands of public utility customers.

Nearly 7,000 residential customers of Artesian Water were not properly billed after the utility changed its billing system last year.

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This Saturday law enforcement is set up another DUI checkpoint in New Castle County after snagging 16 people for drunk driving last Friday.

So far this year more than 3-thousand people have been arrested in Delaware for drinking and driving.

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WILMINGTON, Del. (AP) - New Castle County Executive Tom Gordon is enacting the county's first-ever nepotism policy.

WDEL-AM reports that the policy forbids hiring anyone to a position in which they'll be supervised by a relative. However, relatives are allowed to work in the same department.

The nepotism policy applies to all new hires, re-hires and future promotions or transfers.

Gordon says he hopes the new policy will ensure hiring, supervision and management are fair and that will boost public confidence in the county.

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New Castle County officials did not act to quickly enough to correct the problem of some Artesian Water customers being over charged on their sewer bills for last year.

The auditor says that fiscal Manager Denny Hardman has known about the billing errors since last December and the Chief Financial Officer Michael Coupe has known about them since February.

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Delmarva Power has only 375 customers left in New Castle County without service down from 15-hundred earlier this morning in the wake of thunderstorms that brought large hail and knocked down trees and power lines last night.

A total of more than 11-thousand were experienced outages Monday night in the Wilmington, Bellevue, Fox Point and Bellefonte areas.

The National Weather Service reported 3/4-inch hail fell in Bear and Newark on Monday night, with smaller sizes elsewhere in the county as well as in the Hollyville area of Sussex County.

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Delaware

NEWARK, Del. (AP) - The National Weather Service has confirmed that a tornado touched down in New Castle County.

Jim Bunker, observing program leader with the Weather Service office in Mount Holly, N.J., said Tuesday that an EF0 tornado touched down about 4:45 p.m. Monday near Newark.

EF0 is the lowest indicator on the tornado scale. Such a tornado has winds of up to 85 mph.

No injuries were reported, but dozens of homes were damaged, trees were uprooted, and power lines were downed.

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MINQUADALE, Del. (AP) - New Castle County residents will soon have another option for getting rid of unwanted medications.

County police plan to unveil a prescription drug drop box at the department's headquarters next week.

Several times a year the Drug Enforcement Agency holds a National "Prescription Drug Take- Back Day," but the drop box will allow people to safely dispose of expired, unwanted and unused prescription drugs whenever they want.

Police say the drop box will help keep those drugs from being used in illegal activity.

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There will be no property tax increase this year for New Castle County residents.

But the 13 member county council did add a 3.9 percent rate increase to the proposed sewer budget while eliminating a proposed $2.2 million transfer from county reserves.

The Wilmington News Journal reports that the late-night votes capped a week of heated exchanges including a charge that the proposed cuts by County Executive Tom Gordon were politically motivated.

In addition, the council made nearly $2.8 million in cuts to Gordon’s proposed operating budget.

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A recent fist fight at a Wilmington restaurant has New Castle County Chief Administrative Officer David Grimaldi speaking out about the brawl, saying that the other man repeatedly used racial slurs about African Americans hired by County Executive Tom Gordon’s administration.

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NEW CASTLE, Del. (AP) - Officials in one Delaware county are announcing a new effort to combat gun violence.

New Castle County Police Chief E.M. Setting and other county officials are announcing plans Friday to reinstate a gun control measure that was put in place in the county more than a decade ago.

The officials say the goal is to make sure that guns seized during investigations are kept off the streets for good.

The policy was instituted by former county police Chief Thomas P. Gordon, who is now the county executive.

DOVER, Del. (AP)- Delaware public health officials are reporting the state's second flu death in the 2012-2013 flu season. 

Officials said Wednesday that a 79-year-old Sussex County woman has died from the flu. They said the woman had several underlying health conditions. Officials announced Tuesday that a 2-month-old girl from New Castle County was the state's first flu death this year. 

Health officials are urging residents over the age of 6 months who have not been vaccinated to get a flu shot.

Flu Death in Delaware

Jan 16, 2013

DOVER, Del. (AP) - Health officials have reported the first flu death in Delaware in the 2012-2013 flu season.

The Division of Public Health said Tuesday that a 2-month-old girl from New Castle County had died. Officials did not say when the infant died.

Officials urged residents to take precautions to prevent the spread of the flu, and urged any resident over the age of 6 months who have not been vaccinated to get a flu shot.

DOVER, Del. (AP) — State public health officials are reporting Delaware's third case of a rare and potentially deadly infectious disease.

Officials said Monday that a 70-year-old New Castle County man has developed vancomycin (van-ko-MY-sin)-resistant staphylococcus (STAF-uh-lo-kaw-kus) aureus (AW-ree-us) infection, or VRSA.

VRSA is a type of antimicrobial-resistant staph bacteria. While the bacteria are resistant to vancomycin, other FDA-approved drugs have been shown to be effective in treating the infection.

 The National Weather Service is warning of dangerously hot temperatures this afternoon with a high of 89 and a heat index in the mid-90’s.

For New Castle County there’s an excessive heat warning in effect through 7 pm tonight.

There is also a chance of some thunderstorms by 4 pm this afternoon.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration suggestions range from drinking plenty of water and staying out of the sun to checking up on relatives and neighbors and remaining in an air conditioned room.         

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