Biden visits Sussex Co. Jamboree

By WDEL staff reports 5:27pm, August 29, 2015
(Photo by Jon Budler, Delaware 105.9FM)
Saying Beau would have wanted him to, Vice President Joe Biden attended Saturday's Sussex Democrats' Jamboree at Cape Henlopen State Park in Lewes.

Party officials were not expecting the VP, and Biden's official schedule listed no public events, but the Vice President told attendees that he decided to go because "My Beau would want me to be here."

VP Biden greets fellow Democrats at the Sussex Democrat's Jamboree (Photo by Jon Budler, Delaware 105.9FM)

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The fundraiser for the Sussex Democratic Party is held every summer. On odd-years, it's seen as the kick-off for the next election cycle.


The Burger Battle: Who has Delaware's best burger?

By Amy Cherry 4:34pm, August 29, 2015 - Updated 8:58pm, August 29, 2015
VIDEO: WDEL's Taggart Houck reports from the Delaware Burger Battle in Wilmington
Seventeen restaurants were flipping burgers for charity and the chance to be named "Delaware's best burger."



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The grills were fired up on a sunny Saturday in Bellevue State Park in North Wilmington for 4th annual Delaware Burger Battle.

PHOTOS: Click here to see pictures from the Burger Battle.

Judges like food writer Matt Amis are looking for a combination of things and don't make their decisions lightly or on empty stomachs.

"You're almost looking for that 'wow factor' like what have you had that you haven't tried before," said Amis. "Or at the same time just like a really good fundamental burger like juicy, well-seasoned, well-cooked."

His favorite last year a Thai chili burger from Deer Park Tavern in Newark, which won the Critic's Choice Award in 2014, and was back again to compete this year.

A Thai curry-infused burger won the Critic's Choice Award at last year's Burger Battle.

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But this year' the Critic's Choice award went to Chelsea Tavern in Wilmington. The 2015 winner for People's Choice was awarded to Maiale Deli and Salumeria just outside Wilmington. The Best Alternative burger prize went to Home Grown Cafe in Newark

Home Grown Cafe wins best alternative burger for its veggie burger topped with red onion jam & lemon thyme goat cheese.

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Some like Josh Nims of Philadelphia aimed to try all of the burgers. His wife was a judge on the Burger Battle panel.

"I'm going to try get like 12 or 13 in at least, but you've got to pace yourself," he said.

He was off to a good start, already on the road to getting the "meat sweats" in the first hour.

"I've had two beef burgers--one was a Thai burger that was really good--and then I've had one veggie burger so far that was also really good," said Nims.

Robbie Morris of West Grove, Pennsylvania also wanted to try them all.

"I've only had a few of them so far, but I plan on trying most of them, depending on how far I can eat," he said.

"How do you save room in your belly for all these burgers?" Cherry asked.

"You don't," he laughed. "You try and then you suffer in the end."

Food blogger Kita Roberts of Newark, who's spending her third year judging the Burger Battle, said her favorite burger includes crispy bacon, light cheese and light seasoning. This is her third year judging the Burger Battle.

"Just a basic burger--if it's not a good burger--good beef to begin with, good fat content, lightly seasoned, then it's a bad burger," said Roberts. "So you have to be creative enough yet not go over the top because if you're burger's too out there, you're like 'ugh, just give me a good burger.'"

Burger Battle attendee Theresa Pennington agreed--bacon is a must.

"A good patty too--I'm going to try them all," she said.

Her favorite of the day was a chicken burger and waffles, which technically, itsn't even a burger.

For Nims, a good burger is all in how it's cooked.

"It doesn't need to be quite too rare, but a little bit of spice is good, and the right bun always helps," said Nims. "But there's a lot of people here experimenting with fruits--soaking their fruits in Scotch and all kinds of interesting things to make their burgers taste good, and it's all pretty amazing.

"Do you think you'll be eating dinner tonight?" Cherry asked him.

"I doubt it," he laughed.

The winners of the Burger Battle were Home Grown Cafe for "Alternative Burger", Maiele Deli and Salumeria for "People's Choice" and Chelsea Tavern for "Critic's Choice".

All proceeds from the Delaware Burger Battle go towards click here at the Ministry of Caring's Emmanuel Dining Room.

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




Dover police officer involved in a shooting

By WDEL Staff 2:48pm, August 28, 2015 - Updated 11:34am, August 29, 2015
An aerial look at the scene of an officer-involved shooting in Dover.
Dover Police continue to investigate an officer-involved shooting Friday afternoon in the area of New Street and Governors Avenue.

Dover Police Chief Paul Bernat said officers received the tip around 1 p.m. Friday that 21-year-old Terrence Fletcher had a handgun near the 100 block of South New Street.

Responding officers approached Fletcher, who they said fled through an alley toward Governor's Avenue. Additional officers were stationed on South Governor's Avenue to provide assistance.

As Flethcer ran toward those officers, a Dover police officer fired his weapon, hitting Fletcher in the upper thigh, police said.

Police administered aid until Fletcher was transported to Bayhealth Kent General Hospital. He remains in stable condition with a non-life threatening injury.

The shooting occurred in the parking lot of a daycare. No other injuries were reported, police said.

Police said a handgun was recovered within a short proximity to Fletcher.

As officers began investigating, a large crowd gathered on South New Street and police said some crowd members became hostile toward officers. Two individuals were arrested for disorderly conduct, officers said.

Police said Fletcher is black, and the officer who shot him, whom they did not identify, is white. Race has not been raised as a factor in the shooting.

The officer, a three-year veteran of the department, is on paid administrative leave as police continue to investigate.

Capitol police as well as officers from Smyrna and Milford assisted Dover police.

Information from The Associated Press is included in this report.




Police investigate shooting leaving 60-year-old man in stable condition

By Taggart Houck 5:24pm, August 29, 2015
A 60-year-old man is in the hospital after being shot in the head.

Wilmington Police said officers responded to a shooting investigation just before 3:30 Saturday afternoon to the 1200 block of Vandever Avenue where they found the man.

He was treated at the scene by New Castle County Paramedics and taken to Christiana Hospital where he remains in stable condition.

Police are investigating the shooting.

They said information on a suspect is not yet available.

Anyone with information is urged to call Detective Randy Knoll at 302-576-3620.


Middletown teen found, Gold Alert canceled

By Frank Gerace 9:57am, August 29, 2015 - Updated 11:34am, August 29, 2015
Kathleen Burris, who was the subject of a Gold Alert last week, has been found safe.
New Castle County Police said a missing teen from Middletown has been found safe.

A Gold Alert that had been issued for the 16-year-old girl last week has been canceled, officers said.

Police said Kathleen Burris, who went missing from her home in Commodore Estates last Tuesday, was found in Elkton with a friend Saturday and returned to her family.




WPD officers kill pit bull that charged at them

By Frank Gerace 12:11pm, August 29, 2015
Wilmington police said officers had to shoot and kill a pit bull that charged at officers Saturday morning.

Police said officers responding to a report of an aggressive pit bull running loose at Chapel and Apple Streets around 8:35 saw the dog in the 300 block of Chapel Street.

When the cops got out of their cruisers, the dog charged at them, and kept charging when the officers backed away.

The officers pulled their guns and fired several times, killing the dog, whose owner said had escaped by digging under a fence in the back yard.

The owner was cited by animal control for the dog that escaped, and for other dogs found in a car.

Police said officers have been to the same house for several animal complaints, and they're asking nearby residents who can help with their investigation to call Sergeant Stephen Morrissey at 302.576.3692.


Seaford man charged with attempted murder after allegedly cutting girlfriend's throat

By Frank Gerace 10:26am, August 29, 2015 - Updated 11:39am, August 29, 2015
Darnell Aiken
A Seaford man is in prison on an attempted murder charge for allegedly cutting his girlfriend's throat during a domestic dispute.

Delaware State Police said Darnell Aiken was arguing with his girlfriend outside her Bridgeville house Friday night when Aiken swung a kitchen knife at her, cutting her throat.

While Aiken and another woman brought the victim to Nanticoke Memorial Hospital, police said Aiken threatened to harm the women if they told anyone what really happened.

Aiken was arrested at the hospital and charged with attempted murder, possession of a deadly weapon during a felony, terroristic threatening, resisting arrest and criminal mischief to a police vehicle.

He's being held without bail at the Sussex Correctional Institution.




Report: Middletown baseball coach facing claims of sexual misconduct with a student

By Sean Greene 11:44am, August 29, 2015
The Appoquinimink School District is investigating a Middletown High School teacher and baseball coach for an accusation of sexual misconduct with a student, according to a published report.

The Middletown Transcript reported that Scott Smith has been placed on administrative leave pending an investigation. An investigation of an unnamed teacher was confirmed to WDEL by Matt Fallis, Appoquinimink's Human Resources Director. Fallis said he could not comment further, citing that it was a personnel matter.

WDEL's attempts to reach the public relations office for the district have gone unanswered.

Middletown baseball went 10-7 last season, and narrowly missed out on the postseason, Smith is also a physical education teacher at the school.


Smyrna teen charged with impersonating cop

By Frank Gerace 11:27am, August 29, 2015 - Updated 11:44am, August 29, 2015
Edward Steele, Junior
Delaware State Police said a 17-year-old Smyrna boy is in hot water for trying to pass himself off as a cop.

Police said Edward Steele Junior pulled his car over on Bayside Drive near Little Creek Road early Monday morning to let a woman who was driving behind him pass, but then, Steele got back behind her and turned on strobe lights attached to his car.

Thinking Steele's car was a police vehicle, the woman pulled over, but Steele passed her, officers said.

Shortly afterward, the woman noticed Steele's car on the shoulder of the road with its lights out, and Steele got behind her and turned his car's lights on again, this time pulling alongside the woman in a no-passing zone for a bit before passing her, officers explained.

The woman described Steele's car to Smyrna Police, who pulled him over, and state police took Steele to Troop 9 in Odessa, where he was booked on charges of impersonating an officer, disorderly conduct, driving without a license, driving in a no-passing zone and having unauthorized lights on his car.

Steele's out on bail, and police are asking anyone else he may have victimized to call Troop 9 at 302.378.5749.

Information may also be provided by calling Delaware Crime Stoppers at 1.800.TIP.3333.




Delaware City Refinery employees treated for possible chemical exposure

By Shana O'Malley, Taggart Houck 4:45pm, August 28, 2015 - Updated 3:43pm, August 29, 2015
Three Delaware City Refinery employees are hospitalized for a possible chemical exposure.

New Castle County paramedics were called to the facility, which processes crude oil, just after noon Friday to assist three workers who believed they were exposed to gas in their work space.

All three workers had been decontaminated by the refinery staff as a precaution.

A 52-year-old man was treated at the scene for headache, dizziness and weakness. A 36-year-old man was treated for weakness and lethargy.

A 40-year-old female employee did not complain of any symptoms. All three workers were transported to Christiana Hospital for further evaluation.

The Deleware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control said in a release Saturday morning that more than 100 pounds of Hydrogen Sulfide was released into the air from the refinery.

They said the substance is considered to be hazardous by the EPA.




Police investigate car crash invloving tree

By Taggart Houck 4:39pm, August 29, 2015
Newport Police continue to investigate a car crash leaving the driver in critical condition.

New Castle County Paramedics responded early Saturday morning to the 200 block of East Justis Street in Newport to find a man trapped in his car after he drove into a tree.

Rescue crews from Minquas and Five Points Fire Companies freed the victim after about 25 minutes.

Paramedics treated the victim on the scene for injuries to his head and extremities.

He was then flown to Christiana Hospital by state police.

Further information is not yet available.


Ciro Poppiti, New Castle County's Register of Wills, says he is running for Lt. Governor

By Tom Lehman, Shana O'Malley 3:56pm, August 28, 2015 - Updated 1:36am, August 29, 2015
Ciro Poppiti. (New Castle County)
New Castle County's Register of Wills said on Friday that he is running for lieutenant governor in 2016.

In a post on his Facebook page, Ciro Poppiti said that he will officially announce his intentions on Saturday at the Sussex County Democratic Committee Jamboree.

"What motivates me is that in the past five years, I think I've done a great job as the register of wills for New Castle County and I know that given my life experience and what I've done in county government, I can take to the next level and be a force multiplier in helping our state," he said.

Ciro Poppiti. (Screenshot/Ciro Poppiti's Facebook page)

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The Register of Wills office helps families and attorneys in obtaining documents need to transfer a deceased person's assets.

In his five years in office, Poppiti said he's helped generate two-point-two million dollars in found income for New Castle Country through "operation backlog."

"That excites me, that motivates me, I said 'hey if I can do that for New Castle County then why can't I join the state level and help the state in it's collection and getting the economy going,'" he said.

If elected to the lieutenant governor post, Poppiti said he'll be an advocate for senior citizens.

"Tens of thousands of Delaware citizens face challenges every day with Medicare issues, Medicaid issues, trying to keep the family house, even though mom or dad may have to go to a nursing home, abuse that goes on, and ultimately, we have a generation of grandparents who are raising grandkids and who some how get lost in the cracks of the system," he said. "So I'm hoping to educate folks on the problems that seniors face everyday."

Poppiti was re-elected last year. Kent County Alderman Brad Eaby, former Sussex County Register of Wills Greg Fuller, and Rehoboth Beach Comissioner Kathy McGuiness, all Democrats, are also running for lieutenant governor in 2016.

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You can contact Tom Lehman at tlehman@wdel.com. Follow him on Twitter or Facebook.




State Police arrest New Castle motel robbers

By Taggart Houck 3:19pm, August 29, 2015 - Updated 8:58pm, August 29, 2015
State Police arrested 27-year-old Martin Thompson of New Castle in connection to the robbery of a New Castle motel (Courtesy/Delaware State Police)
Two people involved in a New Castle motel room robbery last Saturday have been arrested.

State Police said 27-year-old Martin Thompson and 35-year-old Latoyia Lynard of New Castle knocked on the door of a second-floor room at Knights Inn Motel on 1200 West Avenue just before 7 o'clock Saturday night.

When the 32-year-old man and lone occupant of the room opened the door, the suspects burst through and attacked him.

Police said Thompson pulled a gun on the man and both fought for control. Meanwhile, Lynard took nine-hundred dollars in cash lying in the room.

The victim got control of the gun before the suspects fled to find it was a BB gun. He chased after them but they escaped.

The victim was not injured.

Police took Thompson and Lynard in custody Thursday and charged them with First Degree Robbery, Home Invasion, and Second Degree Conspiracy.

Both Thompson and Lynard remain in custody of the Delaware Department of Corrections in lieu of $67,000 and $62,000 secured bail, respectively.


Police nab 9 for vandalizing porta-potties in Dover park

By Shana O'Malley 7:51pm, August 28, 2015 - Updated 11:39am, August 29, 2015
DNREC released surveillance photos to help identify the vandals
Police with the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control (DNREC) have arrested nine individuals in connection with the vandalism of porta-potties in the public fishing pier parking lot at Woodland Beach in Dover earlier this week.

According to DNREC police, several porta-potties were overturned between the hours of 10 p.m. on August 25 and midnight on August 26.

John D. Moss, 21, of Hartly, Timothy A. Dixon Jr., 18, of Felton, and Shane T. Allaband, 20, of Dover, all were charged with one count of criminal mischief and one count of trespassing after hours in a state wildlife area.

Caleb A. Smith, 18, of Harrington, and Thomas R. Keis, 19, of Marydel, were charged with one count each of trespassing after hours in a state wildlife area.

All five adults were released on unsecured bond, pending their appearances in the Kent County Court of Common Pleas at a later date.

One of the juveniles was charged with one count of criminal mischief and one count of trespassing after hours in a state wildlife area.

The other three teens were charged with one count each of trespassing after hours in a state wildlife area. All four were released to their parents, pending an appearance in Kent County Family Court.

"Due to recent criminal activities in our wildlife areas, fishing piers and boat ramps, Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police have increased patrols and surveillance in these areas, including Woodland Beach," said Cpl. John McDerby, Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police. "In this particular case, we would like to thank members of the public who assisted in our investigation, many of whom contacted us through social media."


Selbyville man behind bars for cocaine possession

By Frank Gerace 10:52am, August 29, 2015 - Updated 11:39am, August 29, 2015
Donte Goodman
A Selbyville man was charged with cocaine possession and other offenses after Delaware state troopers caught up with him outside a fast food restaurant.

Police said Donte Goodman, who was wanted on two outstanding warrants, was leaving the McDonald's on Lighthouse Road in Selbyville Thursday, Aug. 27, at 9:05 p.m. when detectives spotted him.

Goodman tried to run, but was caught, and officers said he was carrying nearly 28 grams of cocaine.

A search of his Apaloosa Drive house turned up drug paraphernalia and three 22-caliber rifles.

Goodman is behind bars at the Sussex Correctional Institution, charged with cocaine possession, possession with intent to deliver, possession of drug paraphernalia, firearms possession by a person prohibited, and resisting arrest.


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