CDC presents findings of Wilmington violence study

By Shana O'Malley 9:09pm, March 27, 2015
City Councilwoman Hanifa Shabazz explains the CDC results
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention completed a study of Wilmington's violent crime and has found what Wilmington City Council members already suspected -- things like substance abuse, exposure to violence, poverty and lack of education lead to crime.

The CDC explained to state and local officials that many individuals accused of committing violent gun crimes in Wilmington over the past few years shared common "triggers" or behavioral patterns.

City Councilwoman Hanifa Shabazz, D-District 4, said the CDC recommended the development of a data and assessment system to better identify the highest risk individuals.

"We now know that we have a way of identifying a person before they commit a crime," she said. "So how do we help them and provide the support they need so they don't go down that path."

The CDC will now work on a full recommendation report, which is expected to be completed in a few months.

City Council members have asked CDC officials to come back to Wilmington to present their findings to the community. A date has not yet been set.

ACLU of Delaware claims Red Clay rigged its referendum

By Amy Cherry 3:44pm, March 27, 2015 - Updated 5:27pm, March 27, 2015
The American Civil Liberties Union of Delaware (ACLU) has filed a complaint in the Delaware Court of Chancery against the Red Clay Consolidated School District over its referendum last month.

The complaint alleges Red Clay used its governmental power to skew election results in favor of the tax increase.

According to the complaint, Red Clay scheduled family fun nights to sway voters.

"They scheduled other family events so to make sure that parents of school children who they considered more likely to vote for the tax increase would be at the school, which is also the polling place, on the day of the referendum," alleged Kathleen Macrae, Executive Director of the ACLU of Delaware.

Pati Nash, spokeswoman for Red Clay, said the district did host those events, but would have no way of knowing how those attending would vote.

"They were not done with as asserted (in the complaint) designed only to get the vote out that would most likely support the tax increase or to, in anyway, knowingly dissuade anyone from voting," said Nash.

The complaint also alleges that empty school buses were parked to block handicap parking spots and even gave away free pizza to students after their parents voted.

"It limited access for other people, especially elderly people or people that had mobility problems to be able to get to the polls and vote against the tax increase if that's what they wanted to do," said Macrae.

Nash said that's simply not true.

"There were some buses at Marbrook (Elementary School) in the afternoon to pick up children, who had after school activities, but they were never parked in front of the handicapped spots, she said. "I've been told they were parked in the circle in front of the school."

Nash said the district following the guidelines from the Board of Elections.

"We put on a fair campaign," said Nash.

The complaint also named the Board of Elections for New Castle County, which certified the election results after state Senator Karen Peterson called for an investigation into allegations of voter fraud.

"They were well aware that there were many complaints filed about the way the election was handled yet they went ahead and certified the results anyway," said Macrae.

"We just received the complaint and haven't had a chance to review it with the Department of Justice," said Anthony Albence, Director of the Board of Elections for New Castle County.

Peterson told WDEL that a few instances of fraud had been identified, but they would not have been enough to sway the outcome of the referendum.

The referendum passed by 880 votes on Feb. 24.

The ACLU wants the Chancery Court to nullify the results of the referendum and ask that a new referendum be held.

Macrae said the complaint is not about whether the tax increase should go forward.

"We're bringing this suit because voting is a fundamental value of our democracy, and we cannot allow government, including school districts, to use their power to rig an election," Macrae said.


Contact Amy Cherry at or follow her on Twitter at @acherry13.

Troopers investigate after man's body is found in car

By Frank Gerace 10:02am, March 28, 2015
State Police were investigating the death of a man whose body was found in a car in Magnolia Friday night.

Troopers responding to a report of shots fired on Grays Lane in Meadowbrook Acres around 11:20 found the man in the driver's seat of the car.

He was pronounced dead at the scene, and his name was being withheld pending notification of family members.

The state Division of Forensic Science will conduct an autopsy to determine exactly how the man died.

Anyone with information can call Detective William Porter at 302-531-5892 or Crimestoppers at 1-800-TIP-3333, or send an anonymous tip by text to 274637 (CRIMES) using the keyword "DSP.".

Three hurt in Middletown car crash

By Frank Gerace 9:49am, March 28, 2015 - Updated 10:51am, March 28, 2015
County Paramedics said Friday 3 people were hurt, two seriously, in a two-car crash in Middletown.

Crews arrived at the intersection of Middletown-Warwick Road and Sandhill Drive shortly before 3 Friday afternoon and found a 16-year-old girl trapped in her car.

She was pulled from the wreckage and taken to Christiana Hospital, where she was in serious condition with injuries to her head, upper body and legs.

A 13-year-old boy who was riding in the girl's car had head injuries, and was also in serious condition at Christiana.

A 23-year-old woman who was driving the other car involved in the crash was in stable condition with leg and internal injuries.

Middletown police were investigating.

Widener to split law campuses into separate schools in Delaware, Pennsylvania

By Tom Lehman 5:27pm, March 27, 2015 - Updated 1:56am, March 28, 2015
VIDEO: WDEL's Tom Lehman reports.
Widener University will separate its School of Law this summer into two independent institutions at existing campuses in Delaware and Pennsylvania.

The university intends for the change to go into effect on July 1. The American Bar Association has approved the move, which allows Widener, based in Chester, Pennsylvania, to operate its law campuses in Talleyville and Harrisburg as individual schools.

The Talleyville location will be called the Widener Delaware Law School, an homage to its original name.

Rod Smolla, who served as the dean at the University of Richmond and Lee University schools of law, will serve in the same role at the Delaware Law School. He said he was attracted to the job because of the civility and bipartisanship reflected in the so-called "Delaware Way."

"That's the way I like to do business," he said. "I like the idea of coming here and being part of that and helping encourage that."

The Harrisburg campus will be renamed the Widener Commonwealth Law School after the separation.

Smolla said he was eager to get to work in July and begin a new chapter at Delaware's only law school.

"I think there's a real palpable sense of excitement about the Delaware Law School regaining its independence and its special connection to this state," he said.


You can contact Tom Lehman at Follow him on Twitter or Facebook

Wilmington man, a 40-year fugitive in Connecticut, arrested by Delaware Capitol Police

By DJ McAneny 5:12pm, March 27, 2015 - Updated 5:27pm, March 27, 2015
A 61-year-old Wilmington man, who had been on the run as a fugitive for 40 years in Connecticut, was arrested by Delaware Capitol Police, they announced Friday.

According to police, an officer conducting a criminal background review on Raymond Reyes found a warrant out of Waterbury, Connecticut, for a parole violation following a robbery conviction.

The Waterbury Probation and Parole Office confirmed the warrant, and arrangements were made to have Reyes turn himself in at the New Castle County Courthouse Friday, where he was taken into custody without incident.

Reyes was committed to the Howard R. Young Correctional Center without bond, pending extradition to Waterbury, Connecticut.

DSP: Sex offender wanted for not registering with authorities

By Frank Gerace 10:24am, March 28, 2015
Dennis Young
State Police said a convicted sex offender didn't register with them as required by law.

20-year-old Dennis Young of Frederica is a Tier 2, or medium-risk offender.

He's white, 5-3 and weighs about 130 pounds.

Anyone who knows where Young is can call DSP's Sex Offender Apprehension and Registration unit at 302-672-5306, Crimestoppers at 1-800-TIP-3333, leave a tip on the internet at, or send an anonymous tip by text to 274637 (CRIMES) using the keyword "DSP."

New beach campground opens in Rehoboth

By Joe Irizarry 5:08pm, March 27, 2015 - Updated 5:27pm, March 27, 2015
State officials cut the ribbon on the new North Inlet campground at the Delaware beaches. (WDEL/Joe Irizarry)
The new North Inlet campground at Delaware Seashore State Park in Rehoboth Beach has been completed.

The campground will include 80 new campsites; Six will be ADA-compliant while 74 are full-hookup.

There will be sidewalk access to the Indian River Marina, new laundry facilities, a full-accessible heated bathhouse with hot showers, rinse-off showers, and new benches along the inlet.

"You can now walk across the bridge; the bridge is lit up at night," said DNREC Division of Parks and Recreation Director Ray Bivens. "The campground is a huge improvement, and then also, we have everything from fisherman have their own area to be separated, extra parking was added, so there's additional capacity here at the park."

The enhancements cost $9.87 million--with the Federal Highway Administration paying $7.06 million and the rest coming from state capital funds awarded to DelDOT.

"The state has made this investment with the help of our federal partners so that future generations of families will be able to continue to enjoy this amazing area we have," said Gov. Jack Markell. "This is such a spectacular part of our state."

Laurel man busted on weapons, drug, traffic counts

By Frank Gerace 10:43am, March 28, 2015
Garrett Hill
A Laurel man was out on bail on weapons and drug possession counts after a Friday afternoon traffic stop.

State Police say a trooper pulled over 21-year-old Garrett Hill after Hill made a sudden U-turn at Bethel and Woodland Ferry Roads in Bethel.

The trooper noticed several knives in Hill's SUV and in his wallet, and a pat-down search turned up two more knives.

During a search of the SUV, the trooper found a handgun, six and a half grams of pot, rolling papers and a digital scale.

Hill was charged with Carrying a Concealed Deadly Weapon, Possession of Marijuana, two counts of Possession of Drug Paraphernalia, and Improper Turning of a Vehicle within an Intersection.

Pretty penny: Early 1-cent coin sells for more than $1M

By Associated Press 4:46pm, March 27, 2015 - Updated 5:27pm, March 27, 2015
An early trial of America's first 1-cent coin now costs quite a pretty penny - an auction host said one has sold for more than $1 million.

Stack's Bowers Galleries said one of the first 1-cent pieces made in the country went to a rare-coin dealer Thursday night for $1.175 million in Baltimore.

The coin is known as the 1792 Birch cent. It was made as a trial, just months after the 1-cent denomination was first authorized in the young country.

The auction host said the coin that sold is the second-finest of its kind still in existence, and it last sold at auction in 1959.

Other rare coins also sold at the auction, including an 1861 Confederate half dollar for more than $600,000.

Google, Johnson & Johnson team up to build robot surgeons

By Associated Press 5:59pm, March 27, 2015
Google is teaming up with Johnson & Johnson to build robots that can help surgeons in the operating room.

The alliance announced this week dovetails with two of Google's initiatives beyond its main business of Internet search and advertising. Google has been investing in medical research aimed at extending lives and in robotic technology that can free up humans to do other things.

The companies will try to engineer robotic technology that will reduce patient trauma and accelerate post-surgery healing.

Google will work with Ethicon, a medical device company owned by Johnson & Johnson.

Financial terms of the deal aren't being disclosed.

Johnson & Johnson's innovation center in California negotiated the partnership with Google, which is based in Mountain View, California.

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